February 4, 2019

Despite Government Shutdown, Gulf Council Makes Progress for Red Snapper Anglers

Last week, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Fisheries Program Senior Director Chris Horton attended the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) meeting in Orange Beach, Alabama to further discuss red snapper management in the Gulf States.

Due to the recent government shutdown, the Council was not prepared to take final action on a number of amendments to fishery management plans. This included Amendment 50 to the Reef Fish Management Plan, which will allow the five Gulf States to continue managing the recreational red snapper fishery once the current exempted fishing permits (EFPs) expire after the 2019 season.

However, the Gulf Council did reach a tentative agreement on one of the most contentious provisions of Amendment 50 – allocations of the recreational red snapper quota between states.

The new preferred alternative (Action 2 – Alternative 8) approved at the January meeting for allocating the private recreational red snapper quota by percentage between states includes:

Because Amendment 50 needs to be approved this spring in order for the amendment to take effect by the 2020 red snapper season, the Council will convene a special meeting February 18 to formally accept the amendment and send it to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval.

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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