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.
Red snapper are Mismanaged by Feds
Houston Chronicle Editorial
By Hughes Andry | April 10, 2015
It is difficult to understand why anyone would willingly wade into one of the most difficult fishery management issues in the entire country, much less volunteer for the monumental responsibility of rebooting the whole deal. However, the fisheries directors of all five Gulf states recently offered a plan to assume management of Gulf of Mexico red snapper from the federal government with the belief that they can set it on a more sensible course.
Why would these state directors take on such a thankless task? The answer is that they know it simply does not have to be so convoluted and difficult.
The red snapper fishery is the healthiest it has been in decades and it could be the largest the population has ever been, thanks in large part to the expansion of habitat created by offshore oil and gas platforms and limitations on shrimp trawling bycatch. But you would never be able to tell under federal management, which last year limited the recreational season to nine days in federal waters. Such overly restrictive regulations are incongruous with what anglers and many fisheries scientists are seeing on the water, and are negatively impacting the thousands of recreational fishing dependent businesses all along the Gulf coast.
Gulf States Unveil Solution to Red Snapper Management
Sportfishing and boating community welcomes state-based management approach
Washington, D.C. – March 13, 2015 – In a move long-awaited by the recreational fishing and boating community, the directors of the state fish and wildlife agencies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas announced an agreement for state-based management of Gulf of Mexico red snapper, which in recent years has experienced increasing privatization of this public resource and decreasing recreational fishing opportunities. The announcement was greeted with strong enthusiasm from the recreational fishing and boating community, which has supported greater state control of Gulf red snapper.
“Throughout the country, states have proven to be highly successful at fish and wildlife management in a way that conserves natural resources while allowing for reasonable public access,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “The Gulf states are among the nation’s leaders in marine fisheries management, which is why we have continued to look to them as the vehicle for managing Gulf red snapper going forward to get us out of the current mess created by federal mismanagement.”