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Fishing advocates support new red snapper bill

The recreational fishing community applauded new bipartisan federal legislation that it says would better conserve Gulf red snapper while giving recreational anglers a longer season.

The bill from Republican U.S. Reps. Garret Graves of Louisiana and Jeff Miller of Florida would extend formal federal recognition to an agreement among the fish and wildlife officials of all five Gulf states to accept joint responsibility for management of the red snapper fishery in federal waters.

Red snapper management is under the jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

“For too long, the federal government has relied on outdated and inaccurate information to unfairly limit recreational Gulf red snapper fishing to just a single weekend a year,” Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation, said in a statement. “Representative Graves’ bill will improve recreational fishing opportunities and safeguard the thousands of Gulf jobs that depend on recreational red snapper fishing.”

“The state fisheries agencies and the recreational angling community have a long-standing partnership in successfully managing our fisheries resources for species abundance while ensuring appropriate public access,” Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation president Jeff Crane said.

Crane also said “the states are simply better equipped to manage Gulf red snapper; have a proven record of managing fisheries in their own state waters and are more aware of a fishery’s importance to recreational anglers and their state’s economy.”

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