“A real victory for recreational fishing -- and the jobs recreational fishing creates”
Washington, D.C. (June 4) – The Center for Coastal Conservation praised the work of U.S. Representatives Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Garret Graves (R- La.) in securing passage of a provision in H.R. 2578, the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice Science Appropriations Act, that Center President Jeff Angers called “a real victory for recreational fishing — and the jobs recreational fishing creates.”
The amendment secured yesterday by Reps. Scott and Graves prohibits funds from being used to enact Gulf of Mexico red snapper management measures that result in a commercial fishing season that lasts longer than five times the number of days allowed for a recreational fishing season. Despite rebounding red snapper populations in the Gulf, recreational anglers have been confined to shorter seasons than ever before: recreational anglers have been restricted to just nine or 10 days of red snapper fishing over the last two years, while commercial fishing is permitted year round.
“The recreational red snapper fishery is an economic driver for coastal communities all along the Gulf of Mexico, and restricting fishing to just one weekend a year is like throwing a wet blanket on the economy of the entire region,” Angers charged.
Angers noted that Scott and Graves also succeeded in prohibiting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from funding its plan, “Amendment 40, Sector Separation,” which divides the recreational red snapper fishing sector into private boat anglers and charter/for hire, effectively creating three distinct sectors: commercial, charter/for-hire and private angler.
“NOAA’s misguided plan reflects a cynical strategy of ‘divide-and-conquer’ that pits the fishing community against itself,” Angers charged. “The House of Representatives was wise to scuttle it.”
Yesterday’s action came only two days after Graves secured assurances from House leadership to take action on his legislation to transfer red snapper management to the five Gulf States.
“Reps. Scott and Graves continue to prove themselves true friends of recreational anglers, and all of us thank them for their leadership on our behalf,” Angers said.