Graves, Scott Defund Red Snapper Sector Separation
Washington, DC – The House of Representatives approved legislation today by Cong. Garret Graves (R- South Louisiana) and Cong. Austin Scott (R-GA) that would dramatically improve conditions for recreational fishing of Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.
Included in H.R. 2578, the FY16 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act the legislation is an amendment written by Rep. Graves in collaboration with Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) that prohibits the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from using any funds to enforce Amendment 40 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, a controversial rule that divides the recreational Red Snapper fishing sector into private boat anglers and charter/for-hire, effectively creating three distinct sectors: commercial, charter/for-hire and private angler.
In addition to defunding sector separation, the amendment also prohibits funds to be used to enact any Red Snapper Management Measure that would allow an annual catch limit for Red Snapper resulting in the commercial Red Snapper fishing season to last longer than five times the number of days allowed for recreational fishing.
This comes two days after Graves secured assurances from House leadership to take action on his pending legislation to transfer Red Snapper management to the five Gulf States.
“For the first time in many, many years, this is a win for recreational fishermen. Our amendment will ensure that our recreational fishers have the opportunity to enjoy Red Snapper,” said Graves. “Earlier this week, we passed the Magnuson-Stevens fisheries bill to improve the science used to sustainably manage our Gulf resources. Together, these bills will prevent the federal government from limiting recreational fishing to 10 days while continuing to protect our commercial and charter fishing industries.”
The underlying bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies. The legislation contains $51.4 billion for effective, proven programs within the Departments of Justice and Commerce, as well as NASA and the National Science Foundation.
While targeting funding at programs that are vital to for economic development, public safety and national security, H.R. 2578 makes reductions to several lower-priority programs for a savings of over $400 million compared to fiscal year 2015, and it rescinds $375 million in unused prior year funds.