We recently shared an op-ed with you written by Florida fisherman Chad Haggert for the Tampa Bay Times. In the piece, he described H.R. 200 and S. 1520, two pieces of legislation currently being considered by Congress, as unnecessary and threatening the progress being made by fishermen.
Chad is not the only one who opposes H.R. 200 and S. 1520. Many important industry leaders around the country are speaking out against these harmful bills. This includes Alabama fisherman David Walker who wrote a powerful piece in The Hill about how proposals like S. 1520 undermine the health and productivity of fisheries in the Gulf and around the country. Capt. James Bruce, a long-time commercial fisherman from Mississippi, asserts that “congressional bills that could undermine science and harm a business I have built from the ground up, are not the solution.”
A letter signed by over two dozen chefs, including top chefs and restaurant owners from New Orleans, was sent to Congressional leaders earlier this year detailing how these bills, despite their titles, are “hardly what we would consider modern or strong” and are “taking our nation’s fisheries in the wrong direction and undermining gains made in the last ten years.”
All around the country, opposition continues to grow against these two dangerous bills. In April, Chef Rick Moonen wrote a column for the Las Vegas Sun about how these bills will negatively affect his business and those of other restaurateurs in Las Vegas, which collectively serve large volumes of seafood including from the Gulf. In the op-ed, he encourages Congress “to hold the line and ensure any changes to Magnuson-Stevens are built on what works: science-based management, strong accountability and a commitment to Nevada businesses and visitors who want to enjoy sustainable seafood for generations to come.”
While chefs, fishermen, and others continue to speak out, many Share The Gulf members are hopeful that the recently approved state recreational management pilots in Gulf may provide a more constructive way forward. As Chad Haggert wrote last month:
“HR 200 and S 1520 are largely driven by the need to fix the broken recreational management system in the Gulf. But unlike these new state pilot programs, these bills don’t solve any problems, they just create new ones by threatening fisheries with the risk of overfishing and creating bans and hurdles for proven tools.”