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October 25, 2013

NOAA Leadership Needs to Implement Overdue Fisheries Policies in Gulf of Mexico

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)  lays out concerns surrounding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s management of fisheries in the Gulf Coast.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today sent a letter to Penny Pritzker, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC), voicing his concerns surrounding the lack of leadership at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in implementing NOAA’s own catch share policy, which has resulted in using outdated allocation quotas for fish in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly for red snapper. Vitter’s letter comes before the Senate takes up the nomination of Dr. Kathryn Sullivan to be Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA.

“For too long Louisiana anglers have sat in waiting for NOAA to implement their own policies and required guidelines for periodic review of allocation levels,” Vitter said. “We need to make sure that the Agency in charge of managing fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico understands the importance of ensuring that policies for managing marine life and economies in the Gulf are periodically reviewed.  NOAA’s lack of leadership in requiring action on the Agency’s own policy has the potential for fishermen and businesses to suffer and even waste precious resources. Implementing their own policy to ensure concerns are periodically addressed should be a priority.”

Vitter made specific requests to the Commerce Secretary to implement the provisions of NOAA’s own National Catch Share Policy and to update the Gulf’s outdated allocation review of the red snapper fishery. Vitter also has legislation to extend states’ offshore jurisdiction, which would include fisheries management.  Click here to read more.