October 20, 2014

Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Speak Out on Gulf Red Snapper Management

On October 20, the Co-Chairs of the House Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) sent a letter to Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council Chairman Kevin Anson, expressing concern regarding the rushed nature of Amendment 40, also known as “sector separation.”

The Council is set to take action on the proposed, controversial Amendment 40, later this week during their meeting in Mobile, Alabama. While the commercial sector will continue to receive 51 percent of the red snapper catch, Amendment 40 will divide the recreational angler’s 49 percent share of the fishery roughly in half between private recreational anglers and charter/for-hire and head boat owners. While the amendment is meant to offer some relief for some charter-for-hire captains that cannot operate a business on a nine-day season, it fails to address the problem of an unnecessarily short season for the vast majority of red snapper stakeholders: the private recreational angler.

The House CSC Co-Chairs Representatives Bob Latta (OH) and Bennie Thompson (MS) expressed concern regarding the rushed nature of Amendment 40 and the failure to adequately assess the potential ramifications of the Amendment from scientific, legal, economic, and cultural impacts that sector separation will likely have. They stated: “While we fully support a better management approach to alleviate the hardships of an extremely short recreational season on the charter/for-hire fishery, providing more days of fishing for a select few while completely ignoring the impacts to the majority of participants is irresponsible. Other options that address the needs of the recreational fishery as a whole should be on the table.”

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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