Letter to Congressional leadership calls for state-based management of troubled species

HOUSTON (4-17-13) – The governors of four Gulf states released a JOINT LETTER to the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate today that states current federal management of Gulf red snapper is evidence of a system that is “irretrievably broken,” and calls for passage of legislation that would replace it with a coordinated Gulf states partnership for red snapper management.

“The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery has a historic and significant economic benefit to the Gulf coastal states and the nation. However, federal management conflicts impacting both the commercial and recreational sectors have created a situation that is negatively impacting the coastal economies and citizens of our states,” states the letter signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida and Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi. “With a stock that is recovering steadily, our recreational anglers are being allowed to fish less and less, and there is no hint of willingness from NOAA Fisheries to deviate from this present, unsatisfactory course. As governors of Gulf states, we believe this confusing management is just the latest evidence of a federal management system that is irretrievably broken.”

The governors’ letter calls on Congress to establish a better fishery management approach for Gulf red snapper based on interstate management measures coordinated by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, citing their belief that a coordinated Gulf states partnership would be more capable of delivering a robust fishery that is more accessible for their citizens.

“By encouraging Congress to allow the states to effectively manage red snapper and pass legislation to give the Gulf coastal States management authority for this resource, the governors clearly share our desire for a new vision in fisheries management,” said Venable Proctor, chairman of CCA National. “The federal system has had decades to get this fishery on track, and yet it still insists on a path that leads inevitably to a dead-end. We are grateful to the governors for promoting a viable alternative for fisheries management, and we look forward to working with Congress to see that this sensible management model becomes law.”

Federal management of red snapper reached a new low in 2013 when the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council announced a 27-day season, even though the snapper population appears to be booming. In response, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi have announced various actions to join Texas’ long-standing rejection of federal regulations in state waters, prompting federal authorities to prepare punitive measures for those states. According to current projections, Texas recreational anglers would have a 12-day snapper season in federal waters, Louisiana anglers would have nine days and Florida anglers 21 days.

Click HERE to see Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's statement.