Gulf Red Snapper management battle rages on

Controversy continues to swirl around Charlie Melancon and his state agency’s position on regional management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ appointed top man in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries comes from a Sept. 15 letter Melancon penned to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the standing chairman of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

In the missive, Melancon continued to decry HR 3094, a bill introduced by Rep. Garret Graves, R-Louisiana, that would hand recreational red snapper management in the Gulf of Mexico to the five Gulf states.

Melancon continued to state his objections to the bill, the same ones he and his staff offered in July, and continued to indicate that Bishop’s amendment passed with HR 3094 would put the onus of data collection on the states despite Bishop’s letter to the LDWF that his amendment did not indicate the states would have to assume the costs of data collection.

Melancon said his objections came after federal fisheries manager Eileen Sobeck expressed concern about sharing federal fishery data with the states. Melancon said the estimated cost of operating a state-managed red snapper fishery would cost the state $10 million. The LDWF staff said $6.4 million was to assemble fishery data.

Graves has since countered Melancon’s argument that there is money available to the states from various sources, and further stated Bishop’s amendment is not an impediment for states to begin regional management.

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Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is the online editor for National Fisherman.

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