As members of the Share the Gulf coalition and small business owners, we want and rely on fair and sustainably managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. This means equal consideration for restaurants and consumers as well as fishermen. We recognize that recreational anglers currently face harsh rules on favorites like red snapper, grouper and others. At the same time, fishermen, seafood providers, restaurant owners and chefs with Share the Gulf are asking: How does taking fish from consumers help solve the problems facing anglers?
There is an important fact often overlooked. Recreational and commercial fishermen harvesting red snapper have seen a 70% jump in the amount they’re allowed to catch in just the past five years. Commercial fishermen, seafood businesses and consumers are reaping benefits because the management plan works (and helps promote fish population recovery). Unfortunately, angling seasons continue to shrink, because the underlying recreational management plan remains broken. Anglers are understandably angry, but assigning them more fish (“reallocation”) won’t help. Instead, it hurts more people and businesses. It’s already surprisingly difficult for Gulf chefs like us to source fresh, local fish – this would make it even harder.
Many of us enjoy recreational fishing with our families and friends, and we want our children to experience catching their own dinner. We also know that many recreational fishermen enjoy ordering fresh local fish in Gulf seafood restaurants.
Recreational fishing is important to the economy. So are the small businesses tied to the “commercial fishery” and the “supply chain” like restaurants, grocery stores, distributors, shippers and others.
Let’s talk about solutions and new management options. Let’s talk about everyone’s goals and how we can achieve them together. Let’s stand up together and ask the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to focus their attention on recreational management plans that will actually extend seasons over the long-term, improve data collection and reporting and enhance sustainability. We hope to work with recreational fishermen throughout the Gulf to find productive long term solutions for this shared resource.
Cochon/Peche Seafood Grill
Louisiana Restaurant Association
Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
Sysco Louisiana Foods
Baystar Restaurant Group