Following a joint letter to the U.S. House and Senate leadership from four Gulf-state governors stating that federal management of Gulf of Mexico red snapper is "irretrievably broken," the bipartisan Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act was filed Sept. 12.
The entire leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus has signed onto the bill — championed by representatives Jeff Miller (R-Fla) and Cedric Richmond (D-La) — which moves more management authority from the hands of federal to state agencies.
"Federal management of red snapper has painted itself into a corner," says** Center for Coastal Conservation** president Jeff Angers. "We have a robust red snapper population in the Gulf, but 2013 was as chaotic a season as anglers have ever seen. The season started as the shortest ever, saw a revolt by some states that resulted in even shorter seasons, endured a lawsuit, received a glowing stock assessment and the promise of a fall season, only to crash on wild estimates of overharvest that put the fall season in jeopardy.
"There are many examples where a shift to state-based management of a given fishery resource has been called for, producing better results," says Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association, part of the coalition backing this legislation.