Last week, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council gave preliminary approval to a scheme that would take nearly half a million pounds of popular red snapper off the consumer market in 2015 alone and give it to the recreational sector. The proposal, known as Amendment 28, now goes to public hearings and the Council is expected to take final action at a special meeting in May.
If this amendment is allowed to pass, small businesses in the Gulf that rely on fresh Gulf seafood to provide jobs will be hit with an immediate loss of red snapper from the market, and even more dramatic losses in years to come. Consumer demand is growing and the National Restaurant Association has listed locally sourced seafood as the #1 menu trend for the past four years.
Some groups have pushed for Amendment 28 because failed recreational management has led to shorter and shorter seasons for individual anglers, but this scheme is a false promise to anyone who enjoys fishing in their spare time with family and friends.
Without new management solutions, recreational fishing seasons will continue to shrink, with or without more fish. Even the American Sportfishing Association, a group that supports the amendment, admits that reallocation, “will not result in a significant increase in allowable days to fish” for recreational fishermen.
Better solutions for recreational fishermen exist, but policymakers have refused to try them. The Council will take final action on this amendment in May, but we need your help today. Tell your Governor and Gulf Council to oppose “Amendment 28” and instead focus on real solutions for recreational fishermen.
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