FISHERMEN AND CHEFS STAND FIRM IN OPPOSITION TO H.R. 200 AND S. 1520

Thousands of Share the Gulf supporters—from chefs and fishermen to conservationists and consumers—have weighed in to oppose H.R. 200 and S. 1520 in their current forms.

Florida fisherman Chad Haggert wrote an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times describing the bills as unnecessary and threatening the progress being made by fishermen. He states, “H.R. 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.”

Other industry leaders around the country are speaking out against these harmful bills, including Alabama fisherman David Walker who wrote a powerful piece in The Hill. He explains 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.”

More than 30 fishing organizations from across the country have written to Congress expressing concerns about S. 1520. They joined a group of more than 175 chefs, restaurant owners, and seafood dealers, including signatories from all five Gulf States, who sent a letter to Congress opposing these bills.

Dozens of prominent New Orleans chefs sent a letter to Congress encouraging legislators to protect the strong science-based conservation standards of our top fisheries law.

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.”

And in July, Texas chef Monica Pope expressed her opposition in the Houston Chronicle, noting that H.R. 200 would undermine conservation gains and advising those in the seafood supply chain that “We can’t gamble on our future by undoing the progress we have worked so hard to make.” Pappas Restaurants, the iconic Texas-based company with over 100 restaurants in seven states, urged Members of Congress to oppose H.R. 200, writing that the bill “pits private anglers against commercial fishermen and seafood suppliers” and “jeopardizes the health of fish stocks that the market depends on.”

The leading organization representing commercial red snapper fishermen, the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, sent a letter expressing their concerns.

The Seafood Harvesters of America oppose S. 1520 as introduced, explaining that, “Improving recreational fishery management doesn’t require undercutting commercial fishery management, yet this bill is much more focused on the latter than on the former.” They also sent a separate letter on  H.R. 200 saying “it would do very little to improve the management of the recreational fishing industry while severely undermining the sacrifices the commercial fishing industry has made to ensure that we are sustainably harvesting fisheries resources.”

Additionally, Gulf and South Atlantic commercial fishing affiliates of national fishing organizations currently oppose the bill, raising their own concerns over other problematic provisions of H.R. 200 that would impact the region.

More than 70 conservation organizations sent a letter expressing opposition to H.R. 200, emphasizing that “…Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization should build on the progress we have made, not lower the bar for management success.” The League of Conservation Voters sent a letter in opposition to H.R. 200 stating it “would severely undermine the science-based conservation tools under current law that are essential in preventing overfishing…” Prominent conservation groups also joined the opposition to S. 1520 and sent a letter to Congress stating that they are “united in opposing efforts that would roll back the provisions in the law that have brought on-the-water success for our nation’s fisheries.”

They join advocates from Florida, like Suncoast Waterkeeper Justin Bloom who wrote a piece in The Sarasota News Leader, expressing concerns about how H.R. 200 would hurt Florida’s fisheries. Former National Marine Fisheries Service leaders William Hogarth and Steven Murawski wrote in The Tampa Bay Times about the importance of opposing H.R. 200 and protecting the current law, saying, “Rebuilding stocks has resulted in increases in fisheries yields and translated into lower prices to consumers, more business-friendly approaches to commercial fisheries management and more healthy recreational fisheries.”

Carol Dover, the CEO and President of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, penned an op-ed in The Tallahassee Democrat urging Florida’s Congressional delegation to vote against H.R. 200. She wrote, “The health of Florida’s fisheries is of critical importance to the future of our great state. H.R. 200 is bad for the seafood industry and bad for conservation.”

Join the thousands of Share the Gulf supporters in opposing these bills. Tell your Member of Congress to keep our Gulf fisheries strong and healthy.

Learn more about the bills here. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *