A recent report in Undercurrent News revealed that both the US seafood industry and conservation groups are opposed to HR 3588, or the RED SNAPPER Act. The bill, introduced by Louisiana’s Garret Graves, would transfer management of the red snapper recreational fishery in the Gulf of Mexico from a federal fisheries management council to several Gulf states, including Louisiana.
That both industry and conservationists oppose the bill came as no surprise to me. Both groups are opposed to this bill because they know what I do: This is a terrible bill.
As the executive chef of Carrollton Market in New Orleans, I rely enormously on the commercial fishing industry to bring the bounty of the Gulf of Mexico to my guests. I can assure you that the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) – the federal fisheries law that Rep. Graves seeks to amend – is working.
The MSA has successfully rebuilt 43 stocks through science-based management of our fisheries. It has also historically enjoyed across-the-aisle bipartisan support. Rep. Graves’s bill, however, passed through committee strictly along party lines and seeks to undermine the progress made since the near-total collapse of snapper stocks in the 1980s.
Red snapper is still less than halfway through its rebuilding plan, and Rep. Graves’s bill seeks to entirely remove it from the federal management plan that has been so effective. This kind of short-sighted approach will – in short order – lead to the same point-of-collapse from which we have been fighting back.
This bad bill from Rep. Graves has passed through committee but has yet to reach the House floor. It is essential that we let Congress know that we won’t support any form of legislation that could potentially undo the enormous amount of progress seen since MSA’s institution.