July 16, 2015

Graves-Miller Bill Will Better Conserve Gulf Red Snapper, Improve Access

On July 16, leaders in the recreational fishing community lauded new bipartisan legislation, the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act (H.R. 3094), by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members Congressmen Garret Graves (LA) and Jeff Miller (FL), along with all four House leaders of the CSC. The president of the Center for Coastal Conservation predicted that the legislation “will better conserve Gulf red snapper and finally give recreational anglers reasonable access to red snapper fishing.”

“For too long, the federal government has relied on outdated and inaccurate information to unfairly limit recreational Gulf red snapper fishing to just a single weekend a year,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center. “Representative Graves’ bill will improve recreational fishing opportunities and safeguard the thousands of Gulf jobs that depend on recreational red snapper fishing.”

H.R. 3094 will extend formal federal recognition to the historic agreement between the chief fish and wildlife officials of all five Gulf States to accept joint responsibility for management of the red snapper fishery in federal waters. Red snapper management is currently under the jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

“The state fisheries agencies and the recreational angling community have a long-standing partnership in successfully managing our fisheries resources for species abundance, while ensuring appropriate public access,” noted Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. 

Crane added that “the states are simply better equipped to manage Gulf red snapper; have a proven record of managing fisheries in their own state waters, and are more aware of a fishery’s importance to recreational anglers and their state’s economy.”

Original co-authors of the Graves measure include: Reps. Jeff Miller (FL), Ralph Abraham (LA), Brian Babin (TX); Dan Benishek (MI), Charles Boustany (LA), Buddy Carter (GA), Paul Cook (CA), Jeff Duncan (SC), Gene Green (TX), Jody Hice (GA), Bob Latta (OH), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Billy Long (MO), Pete Olsen (TX), Steven Palazzo (MS), Austin Scott (GA), Cedric Richmond (LA), Bennie Thompson (MS), Tim Walz (MN), Lynn Westmoreland (GA) and Rob Wittman (VA).

The Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act will likely be referred to the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee.

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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