Federal Mismanagement of Red Snapper Draws Attention of Congress
Sen. Shelby seeks much-needed relief for recreational anglers
WASHINGTON, DC - In an unprecedented display of engagement, Congress is making its displeasure known over the current course of federal management of Gulf red snapper by directly addressing it in a number of recent pieces of legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate. Last week, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), announced full committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 CJS appropriations bill which contains provisions dealing specifically with red snapper, including allocation, state boundaries and stock assessments.
Recreational Saltwater Fishing Coalition Lauds House Legislation
Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization contains major provisions benefiting recreational fishing
Washington (June 2, 2015) – A coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community congratulated the U.S. House of Representatives on its passage of H.R. 1335, a bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary statute governing the nation’s marine fisheries.
“The House action recognizes the increasing popularity of saltwater recreational fishing, which contributes $70 billion annually to the nation’s economy and supports 454,000 jobs in every type of business from marinas, tackle shops and boat dealerships to restaurants, motels and clothing stores,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “While H.R. 1335 isn’t perfect, it goes a long way toward addressing the priorities of the recreational fishing community.”
Lost opportunity for state management of red snapper
House Committee member helps derail state management amendment
WASHINGTON, DC - Legislation to transfer management of Gulf red snapper away from the federal government and allow the Gulf States to manage the fishery entirely was narrowly rejected last week during a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee. The state management amendment was one of many being considered by the Committee during the mark up of HR 1335, a bill to reauthorize the Magnuson Stevens Act sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).
With the support of the Chairman of the Committee and the sponsor of the bill, the state management amendment was offered by Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.) to implement the recommendations of the five Gulf state directors to bring an innovative solution to the long-standing chaos of federal red snapper management. Unfortunately, in negotiations leading up to the vote and even during the hearing itself, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) vigorously opposed the state management amendment and promoted his own amendment that will tweak some aspects of snapper management but will ultimately maintain it under federal control and lock in status quo for the fishery.
Not Another Flawed Federal Experiment
April 28, 2015 - The comment period has closed on the State of Mississippi’s application for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to allow its for-hire fleet to harvest 30,000 pounds of breeder-sized red drum over the next two years. Thousands of comments in opposition were sent by CCA members and yet it would be no surprise if NOAA Fisheries ends up approving the permit. NOAA has the sole authority to approve or deny permits like this, and NOAA rarely meets an Exempted Fishing Permit it doesn’t like. That is why CCA and other groups are promoting revisions to federal law that require more strict scientific oversight of these applications, which are often cloaked in the guise of “scientific research” but ultimately only serve to promote the welfare of one special interest group or another.
In this case, the State of Mississippi sought the application ostensibly for its for-hire fleet to harvest critically important spawning-sized red drum in federal waters for the first time since 1987 to collect “biological information” on offshore red drum and aid biologists in building a stock assessment. That is a misguided premise given the findings of the Council’s own Special Red Drum Workshop in July 2014. The fact that the fish would be collected by one small segment of the fishery virtually guarantees biased data. In short, there is no useful scientific information that can come from this permit that isn’t already being collected by scientists.
CCA files lawsuit to stop sector separation
Legal challenge follows Commerce approval of controversial red snapper management scheme
Coastal Conservation Association announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against implementation of Amendment 40 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Also known as “sector separation,” the amendment is a highly controversial management plan for red snapper that takes a significant percentage of the recreational quota and reserves it solely for use by the charter/for-hire industry.
“Amendment 40 embodies everything that is wrong with federal management of our marine resources. It is completely out of step with this nation’s heritage of wildlife resource management,” said Bill Bird, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “It has been overwhelmingly opposed at every step in the process, but a very small minority has been allowed to manipulate the system to their personal advantage.”
Lafourche Parish School Kids help build Floating Islands Restoration Project near Grand Isle
Close to 100 Lafourche Parish school students and dozens of volunteers helped build the Floating Islands Restoration Project off of Highway 1 near Grand Isle on Friday.
The project is being spearheaded by the Coastal Conservation Association’s Building Conservation Trust and partners Shell Oil Company, Entergy, Lafourche Parish and Martin Ecosystems.
Kids ranging from 10 to 15 years of age were on hand from Holy Rosary School in Larose and Golden Meadow Middle School. The kids planted roughly 6,000 square feet of new wetland island habitat and placed them in the water just north of LA 1. They planted three types of native plants, including mangrove, seashore paspalum and smooth cord grass, into 8-foot by 25-foot BioHaven Floating Islands. The islands were assembled on-shore and were then moved to the water for installation.