** Ahead of House Natural Resources Committee markup that threatens the remarkable recovery of Gulf of Mexico red snapper, Share the Gulf supporters Captain Bubba Cochrane of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and Stan Harris of the Louisiana Restaurant Association wrote to Congress to express their opposition to the bills as currently written.**
Share the Gulf is a coalition of chefs, restaurateurs, seafood wholesalers and distributors, fishermen, conservationists and consumers. With supporters across the Gulf of Mexico, our mission is to ensure businesses, anglers and families have access to abundant and sustainable Gulf fisheries now and for years to come. As a diverse group of stakeholders in the region, we are contacting you to express our opposition to H.R. 200 and H.R. 3588 as currently written and ask members to stand up for sustainable seafood and equitable use of federal fisheries for all of us.
On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Committee will markup H.R. 200 and H.R. 3588, which in their current forms would hurt seafood and fishing businesses and the long-term conservation of our fisheries, including Gulf of Mexico red snapper. Some of us have proposed amendment language that would include conservation language and allow science-based data to direct fisheries management. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been included in the legislation’s current form.
As a result, we ask that you oppose the bills unless they are amended in markup to:
- Ensure the long-term sustainability of our fisheries, including red snapper, by requiring science-based management that adheres to annual catch limits as prescribed in current law.
- Allow stakeholders and regional decision makers to have access to a full range of tools, including catch shares.
- Eliminate the mandate for burdensome periodic reviews of fishing quota allocations.
- Ensure that no unnecessary hurdles are introduced for fishermen and researchers to use exempted fishing permits, an important way to test management innovations and technology.
- Set reasonable deadlines for rebuilding fish populations so that they don’t remain depleted for decades.
It has taken years of hard work and sacrifice to revitalize Gulf fisheries that anglers, commercial fishermen, restaurateurs, chefs and seafood lovers all depend on. The future of our region depends on healthy and sustainable Gulf fisheries. We appreciate you taking our concerns into account.
President & CEO, Louisiana Restaurant Association
Captain Bubba Cochrane
President, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance
Owner & Operator of F/V CHELSEA ANN