July 9, 2014
The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014 will be debated on the floor of the Senate this week, and Sen. David Vitter has added two amendments that will impact Gulf of Mexico red-snapper anglers if the bill passes.
The first would bring transparency to closed meetings of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Under the terms of the amendment, council members who introduce facts, statistics or documents at any open or closed meeting will be required to provide all other members of the council with the source material 48 hours prior to the meeting.
The second, and perhaps more important amendment, would turn over management of red snapper in federal waters to the Gulf states. After passage of the bill, the secretary of Commerce would have 120 days to grant authority to the states to manage the fishery.
After that point, the governors of each of the five states would have 180 days to agree on a fishery-management plan.
If, however, the governors are incapable of reaching agreement in that time, control of the fishery would revert to NOAA Fisheries.
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