(July 16, 2015) – Today, Congressman Garret Graves (R-South Louisiana) introduced new legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow state-based management of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery. The legislation would remove red snapper from federal authority and place responsibility for this highly valuable species in the hands of the Gulf states through a new, independent body called the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA).
The directors of the state fish and wildlife agencies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas collaborated on the GSRSMA framework earlier this year in response to years of failing federal management of the Gulf red snapper fishery. The GSRSMA framework addresses many of the challenges of current federal management of this fishery including inadequate data and a lack of flexible, responsive management. The framework calls for more precise and timely recreational data collection, more frequent stock assessments, and increased collaboration among the states, among other improvements.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to encourage Congress to support a move to state-based management and the benefits it would provide. “The Gulf states’ marine fisheries directors have mutually agreed upon and unanimously support the GSRSMA. I would like to ask Congress to consider our concerns and support this viable alternative to the current management system,” said Robert Barham, Secretary.
Under the GSRSMA framework, each Gulf state would be responsible for all monitoring and management of red snapper in their respective state and adjacent federal waters. The Gulf states already have these responsibilities for numerous major commercial and recreational fisheries and have been effectively managing them for the benefit of fish, fishermen, and coastal communities and economies for years.
“We appreciate Congressman Graves and his co-sponsors recognition of the challenges in red snapper management and confidence in the Gulf states’ abilities to responsibly manage this important fishery,” said Randy Pausina, Assistant Secretary of Fisheries. “Louisiana and the other Gulf states can provide the precise, real-time data and flexible measures needed to sustain this valuable resource and the people that depend on it.”
To view complete details of the five-state GSRSMA agreement, click here.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
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