Legislation seeks changes to red snapper management

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A bipartisan coalition led by U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., introduced legislation Thursday that seeks to change the federal management of red snapper fishing in four Gulf states.

The legislation comes after the governors of those states released a joint letter to House and Senate leadership arguing that the federal management of Gulf red snapper is “irretrievably broken” and calling for a coordinated Gulf states partnership for red snapper management, according to a statement.

“Federal management of red snapper has painted itself into a corner. We have a robust red snapper population in the Gulf, but 2013 was as chaotic a season as anglers have ever seen,” Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers said in a statement. “The season started as the shortest ever, saw a revolt by some states that resulted in even shorter seasons, endured a lawsuit, received a glowing stock assessment and the promise of a fall season, only to crash on wild estimates of over-harvest that put the fall season in jeopardy. This is no way to manage a fishery, and this legislation presents a way out of this no-win situation.”

Joining Miller and Richmond as original co-sponsors of the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act were U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany, R-La.; Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.; Blake Farenthold, R-Texas; Bob Latta, R-Ohio; Pete Olson, R-Texas; Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.; Mike Rogers, R-Ala.; Steve Scalise, R-La.; Austin Scott, R-Ga.; Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.; Tim Walz, D-Minn.; Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., and Rob Wittman, R-Va.

Frustration over management compelled several Gulf states to seek greater control of the fishery in their own waters. In retaliation, the National Marine Fisheries Service used an emergency rule process to reduce the recreational season to nine days off Louisiana and 12 days off Texas. Both states sued and a federal court overturned the action.

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One comment on “Legislation seeks changes to red snapper management

  1. Bruce Majka

    Good day,
    Where is the relief for Florida East coast? We have been bombarded with a dozen different assaults concerning bottom fishing. Spanning just about every bottom fishery worth dropping a line to catch. At one point they tried to institute a total ban on bottom fishing for ten years. Then a proposal to make the entire ocqulenna reef a no fish zone.
    Currently we have surprise weekend Snapper seasons, two so far.
    All of this based on data from the 1960s. Well I can tell you as a Native Floridian, who worked on a bottom fishing party boat out of Cape Canaveral during the 60s, when I was a teenager. First no one ever asked us. Two if they did we probably made something up, like we did for the tourist. Finally, just like now we had good seasons and poor seasons for Snapper, grouper and Sea Bass. How absurd that someone can pretend to understand the habits of an open ocean fish population, let alone regulate it.
    I can tell you one obvious result of their Voodoo derived regulations. Grouper is $24.00 a pound and Snapper comes from Central America. Also I have three Grandsons who will never experience the joy of offshore bottom fishing.
    Can no one stop this run away train? Where are the Governor and legistrators from Florida.
    Thank you for the time and place to vent.
    Bruce Majka

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