Graves Advances the RED SNAPPER Act of 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (R-South Louisiana) advanced legislation through the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday that will give normal, everyday Americans who like to fish better and more sustainable access to saltwater fishing compared to the current, highly restrictive and outdated federal fisheries management model. His bipartisan bill – the “Regionally Empowered Decision-making for Snapper, Noting the Angling Public and the Preservation of an Exceptional Resource Act”, the “RED SNAPPER Act of 2017” - is a conservation-based approach that will allow states to work with federal fisheries managers to expand access for recreational fishing to 25 miles or to a depth of 150 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. Graves and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) introduced the bill earlier this year to provide a long term solution to management of red snapper for private recreational anglers in the Gulf.
“Changing the management of red snapper allows Gulf states more autonomy in managing this fishery. Fishing pressures are different in the varying regions of our country, and management strategies should be tailored by region For comparison, the West Coast of the United States sees about 5.5 million fishing trips a year, versus 20 million in the gulf coast. And just like there are different management strategy rules for Dungeness Crab or Atlantic Salmon, so should there be for Red Snapper,” said Graves.
By preserving existing commercial and charter fishing protections under current law, the RED SNAPPER Act further protects the average angler’s ability to enjoy freshly caught red snapper on a plate at home or in a favorite restaurant.
Graves’s Modern Fish Act and two more common-sense amendments were also approved Wednesday as part of broader committee action to reauthorize and modernize the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the fishing law of the land. Passage of these landmark policy changes represent major movement toward regional flexibility, tailored management strategies that favor local over federal control, better data collection and enhanced responsiveness to the needs of recreational anglers and mixed use fisheries.
Watch a video of yesterday’s action, which includes a Graves explanation of and fix for a bewildering policy obstacle to Louisiana’s coastal crisis: some areas where there used to be land are now considered “essential fish habitats” and are protected from restoration activity.
Graves illustrated the absurdity: “When we come in and restore wetlands in areas where there has been incredible land loss, federal regulators are telling us we have to pay for the impact to fisheries – fisheries that used to be land. But they’re not making the fish pay for the impacts to humans or to our wetlands.”