Charter Fisherman’s Association –
Clearwater Marine Association – Destin Charter Boat Assoc
Back Room Deal By Gulf State Officials Will Hurt Red Snapper Fishery
Statement from Charter Fisherman’s Association
(Galveston, Texas) Officials from the fish and wildlife agencies of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida conspired outside of the public meeting process to devise a scheme to be considered by Congress that would shift management of the entire commercial, charter-for-hire and private angling red snapper fishery into the hands of state agencies.
The Charter Fisherman’s Association, Clearwater Marine Association and Destin Charter Boat Association join together in opposition to this plan.
Below is a statement from Shane Cantrell, Executive Director of the Charter Fisherman’s Association:
“In a waste of time and tax-payer dollars these officials have devised a scheme that would create a duplicative process in order to manage one species of fish. These state officials already have seats on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which currently manages the red snapper fishery along with dozens of other federal fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Though imperfect, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has made progress in recent years that outshines the entanglement likely to arise with Congressional involvement.
“This scheme would jeopardize a management plan that has successfully kept commercial fishermen under their fishing limits since 2007 and contributed to the rebuilding of the red snapper population. It would also halt significant progress made just last year by charter fishing captains to improve fishing for the millions of recreational anglers who rely on chartered fishing trips to access the Gulf red snapper fishery.
“The Charter Fisherman’s Association has supported efforts to shift management of individual, boat-owning anglers to each state under the oversight of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and at this very important moment there is a Gulf Council proposal that could be modified to do just that. Ironically, the representatives of these state agencies have held up any meaningful progress on that proposal for some time, and with their recent actions they confirmed their lack of respect for a transparent process that engages all fishery stakeholders.
“Perhaps if these state officials spent more time working to advance proposals being considered by the Council and less time colluding with recreational groups to undermine the process, they would have made the progress they claim they want.
“The governors of the Gulf states should ask questions about why tax-payer funded employees are holding secret meetings and purposely excluding stakeholders and Members of Congress should view this ill-conceived idea skeptically. We are on the verge of having 75% of the fishery under flexible and accountable management and we need solutions that take us to 100% not schemes that will damage the progress we’ve made.”
The Charter Fishermen’s Association is trade association of charter and head boat fishermen who operate in the Gulf of Mexico. The for-hire fishing sector provides access to millions of recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico every year.
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