On May 21, 16 cosponsors of the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act (H.R. 3099), all of whom are members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), delivered a formal hearing request for the legislation to House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio.
The letter underscores the ongoing federal mismanagement of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico and calls for “expeditious Congressional action” to address the “severe and far reaching economic impacts to communities throughout the Gulf Coast.”
The recent announcement by the National Marine Fisheries Service of a nine day federal recreational red snapper season is indicative of a management system that is irretrievably broken and fundamentally failing millions of America’s recreational anglers and the businesses they support. The 2014 recreational season will be the shortest on record, despite the most abundant and largest red snapper population in recent history.
The proposed legislation, currently with 22 cosponsors, offers a solution by allowing the more capable Gulf States to assume primary management authority over red snapper. By putting “proven state-based management approaches to work”, the bill will improve red snapper management for the sustainability of the species, provide for the needs of both the commercial and recreational sectors, and deliver significant economic benefits for Gulf States coastal communities and the nation as a whole.
H.R. 3099 was originally introduced by immediate past Chairman of the CSC, Congressman Jeff Miller (FL) and originally cosponsored by the current CSC leadership: Co-Chairs Representatives Bob Latta (OH) and Bennie Thompson (MS) and Vice-Chairs Representatives Rob Wittman (VA) and Tim Walz (MN).
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?