Gulf leaders seek to eliminate snapper fishery

In a shot across the bow of commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico, state managers announced Friday that they have devised a plan to take over red snapper management and eliminate the commercial quota system that has helped rebuild the once-decimated red snapper stock.
“There is now no question in our minds that our state directors do not represent the best interests of commercial fishermen,” said Buddy Guindon, Executive Director of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance based in Galveston, TX.  “They fight us at every turn, trying to destabilize our business plans and promote half-baked ideas that hurt conservation and undermine sustainability.  This scam will hurt hardworking commercial fishermen and the American public that wants to eat fresh, sustainably harvested red snapper.”
According to a recent announcement, representatives from the five Gulf States met in a closed-door off-the-books meeting in New Orleans where they developed a plan to take over management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico and eliminate the commercial individual fishing quota (IFQ) system.  The management responsibility, currently held by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) would be turned it over to a yet-to-be-developed group called the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority, and would consist of 5 individuals, one from each Gulf State, that propose to operate outside of U.S. federal fisheries laws and sustainability policies.  Each Gulf State would be responsible for management of their own waters out to 200 nautical miles, and would be in charge of creating the science and data to use for their management.  Funding for this program would be siphoned from existing federal programs.
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