WASHINGTON (October 23, 2015) – A coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community applauded the House Resources subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans for its hearing on H.R. 3094, the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) and 28 bi-partisan co-sponsors, will grant legal recognition to the plan adopted by the Fish and Wildlife agencies of all five Gulf states to assume management of the Gulf red snapper in federal waters.
“The five Gulf states demonstrated once again that they are prepared to take over management of the fishery in a more responsible way,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “The states are already using state-of-the-art monitoring methods that will enable them to ensure the sustainability of the snapper fishery and enable every sector of the fishing community to equitably share in the harvest. Congress should act quickly to pass this important measure that will give legal recognition to the historic cooperative agreement by the Fish and Wildlife agencies of the five Gulf states - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas -- to assume management of Gulf red snapper.”
Testimony at the hearing drew a stark line between those reaping financial benefits of federal management and angling families who have found their seasons continually shortened despite the largest population of red snapper in modern times.
In a scene that has become distressingly familiar to Florida anglers, the federal government has announced another closure of a popular recreational species - this time red grouper. In announcing the closure, NOAA Fisheries stated that "abundant red grouper are being found closer to shore in shallower water this year, making them more accessible to the recreational sector."
Unfortunately, under federal management a stock that is more abundant than presumed and more available to anglers means that it has to be shut down to stay within quotas based on an obviously suspect assessment and dubious harvest data.
It is red snapper all over again, and is just another example of how far off the rails federal fisheries management has gone.