MISSISSIPPI COMMERCIAL FISHERIES UNITED JOINS SHARE THE GULF

The Gulf of Mexico’s fishing and seafood tradition has especially deep roots in Mississippi. In fact, Biloxi was known as the “Seafood Capital of the World” at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United (MSCFU) and its Executive Director, Ryan Bradley, have a plan to honor the state’s fishing heritage and strengthen its industry, with a timely focus on sustainability. MSCFU is now joining the Share the Gulf Coalition, which includes more than a dozen organizations and hundreds of chefs, restaurant owners, seafood industry representatives, and fishermen.

“Mississippi shellfish and seafood is generally harvested using the most ecologically sustainable methods we have globally, and targeting species that are really abundant and fresh,” Bradley explained. “We want to bring that sustainably sourced, healthy seafood to the public and help to expand opportunities for the fishermen who bring it to us—most of whom come from generations and generations of fishing.”

Ryan, Bradley, Executive Director of the MSCFU speaking at the event in Gulfport, MS on April 18, 2018.

With its focus on promoting stewardship in the commercial fishing industry and fair access to Gulf seafood, MSCFU is an important addition to the Share the Gulf coalition as Mississippi’s commercial fishing sector can be underrepresented in discussions about fisheries laws.

“It’s great to see more commercial fishermen getting involved in the management and seafood arenas,” said Eric Brazer, Deputy Director of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, also a member of the Share the Gulf Coalition. “We’re excited that they’ve agreed to join Share the Gulf and bring their generations of expertise to this coalition.”

In that vein, Share the Gulf, MSCFU, the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and the Charter Fisherman’s Association co-hosted a reception at Salute Italian & Seafood Restaurant in Gulfport, MS on April 18, 2018. Attended by Mississippi Congressional legislative staff, members of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council and high-level representatives of the National Marine Fisheries Service, the event gave the coalition a chance to formally welcome MSCFU to its ranks and spread the message that fair and sustainable access to the Gulf’s fishery resources is a Mississippi tradition.

You can learn more about MSCFU by clicking here.

NEW GULF PILOTS APPROVED FOR STATE MANAGEMENT OF RECREATIONAL RED SNAPPER FISHING

Gulfport, Mississippi – The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced its approval today of pilot programs, formally known as Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs), which will give the five Gulf states a chance to test state-based management of private angler fishing of red snapper. Approval of the plans was announced by regional administrator, Dr. Roy Crabtree, during an open session of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Share the Gulf members expressed support for this pilot in a letter submitted during the public comment period with a few caveats to ensure that the plans would not unfairly impact other fishermen in the for-hire sector and would adhere to core conservation principles.

In line with a strong recommendation made in the letter, the permits were modified to exclude the charter for-hire industry and focus the experiment on the private angling component. In addition, the plans include crucial measures to ensure the experimental method complies with the Magnuson-Stevens Act including science-based catch limits and robust data collection to monitor catch.

Statement from David Walker, commercial fisherman from Andalusia, Alabama and Share the Gulf Co-Chair:

“I am excited about this opportunity for the Gulf to find a new way to manage fishing for private anglers, who have been hamstrung by conflicting state and federal seasons. We appreciate that this plan is built with sustainability in mind and ensures fair access for all, including the charter and commercial sectors.”

Statement from Chef Haley Bittermann, Executive Chef for the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group and Share the Gulf Co Chair:

“I commend NMFS and the Gulf states for making sure the final plans aim to fix the broken recreational management system without hurting other sectors of the fishery. As a chef and an angler, I want to see us move beyond proposals that pit us against one another. I know there’s a way to improve things for anglers like me in a fair and sustainable way.”