Fishermen throughout the Gulf of Mexico are praising Louisiana officials for a series of strong decisions last week that have broken the deadlock of red snapper management in the Gulf of Mexico.

NOAA photo.The Louisiana Office of the Governor and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recently announced their opposition of H.R. 3094, “a piece of unfunded legislation proposed by Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves that would strip management of red snapper away from the stakeholder-driven regional fishery council, consolidate it into the hands of five Gulf state bureaucrats, create a loophole that would exempt management plans from critical conservation requirements, and eliminate up to 10% of the commercial red snapper fishery annually.”

Commercial and charter fishermen throughout Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf of Mexico rejoiced in this groundbreaking decision.

“We are extremely impressed at the leadership position Governor Edwards, Secretary Melancon, and the rest of the Department Staff have taken in opposing this unfunded mandate,” said Steve Tomeny, commercial and charter fisherman from Port Fourchon, Louisiana. “Our state leaders recognize that H.R. 3094 is a bad financial proposition for the State of Louisiana and its economy. Hopefully this, coupled with the commercial and charter fishing industry’s strong opposition to this controversial piece of legislation, is enough to defeat this bad idea once and for all.”

“H.R. 3094 is widely opposed by commercial and charter fishermen from Louisiana and throughout the Gulf of Mexico,” said Russell Underwood, a commercial fisherman whose boats land their fish in Leeville, Louisiana. “Now that we’re going to be stuck with the bill, this just reiterates that H.R. 3094 is bad for Louisiana and we need to move past it. We don’t need or want this shoved down our throats - we all need to be working together through our state representatives on the Gulf Council to give all fishermen a voice, and to stand up for what’s right for the fishermen and the resource. That’s the American way.”

Meanwhile, at the Clearwater, Florida meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council), Louisiana leadership continued to build momentum in their campaign to support charter fishermen and help put private recreational anglers on a path to solving the problems in their fishery. To do this, the Louisiana representatives on the Gulf Council initiated a management plan for private recreational anglers.

Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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