Citing the management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico as part of “a federal management system that is irretrievably broken,” four Gulf Coast governors signed a joint letter dated April 16 calling for the passage of federal legislation allowing states to manage red snapper off their coasts.
“The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery has a historic and significant economic benefit to the Gulf coastal states and the nation. However, federal management conflicts impacting both the commercial and recreational sectors have created a situation that is negatively impacting the coastal economies and citizens of our states,” according to governors Bobby Jindal of Lousiana, Ricky Perry of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida and Phil Bryant of Mississippi, all of whom signed the letter.
They note that red snapper are recovering steadily, even as “our recreational anglers are being allowed to fish less and less.”
“There is no hint of willingness from NOAA Fisheries to deviate from this present, unsatisfactory course,” the letter states.
The governors express their belief that a coordinated Gulf states partnership would be more capable of delivering a robust fishery, more accessible for their citizens, than federal oversight has offered.
“The governors clearly share our desire for a new vision in fisheries management,” says Venable Proctor, chairman of the Coastal Conservation Association, which has worked hard to see the governors’ concerns expressed in this letter.