June 23, 2014
Like many of you, I was born and raised in Louisiana. And when you grow up in such a beautiful state, you develop an innate appreciation for Louisiana's abundant natural resources. That appreciation takes many forms — from a love of fishing to a sense of obligation to conserve our state's resources. We all share a responsibility to conserve these resources but also to protect our public access to them. And when it comes to fishing in the Gulf, there needs to be a mutual respect between the recreational anglers and commercial fishermen.
Gulf fishermen are an economic powerhouse for both Louisiana and the entire Gulf region, which makes protecting the public's access to these resources even more important. The group responsible for overseeing our fisheries and protecting this access is the Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Council.
But this group, supposedly dedicated to fairly managing our fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, continues to chip away at the rights of recreational anglers — particularly with access to the red snapper fishery. The RFMC is in place to protect the interests of the public, but some members of the Council continue to attack the recreational sector and end up doing the exact opposite. In fact, I have serious concerns that certain members are working to protect just a handful of fishermen. It seems like they're giving permanent access to public resources to a select few at the expense of the vast majority of fishermen.