H.R. 3094: “Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act”

On June 17th, 2016, the full House Natural Resources Committee marked up H.R. 3094, a bill offered by Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) to amend MSA by transferring authority to manage the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery to the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA). This new entity would include marine fishery managers from all five Gulf states and would approve fishery management plans from each state, coordinate stock assessments and distribute federal funding for management, assessments and research, among other things. If passed, GSRSMA would also be exempt from the MSA rebuilding requirements and would be allowed to eliminate up to 10% of the commercial red snapper fishery each year.

At markup, Committee’s Chairman Mr. Bishop (R-UT) offered an amendment at markup that would remove federal funding from the bill, which passed by voice vote.

Mr. Young (R-AK) offered an amendment that would strip mention of MSA in the bill, an attempt to limit the bill’s reach only to the Gulf of Mexico to avoid setting a precedent for the other coasts and regional management areas. The bill’s sponsor, Mr. Graves, opposed the amendment. Mr. Young withdrew his amendment under the condition that he and Mr. Graves work to address the issue prior to the bill coming to a vote on the House floor. Mr. Graves agreed to work with Mr. Young to do so.

The bill passed the full committee, as amended, 24-14, mostly along party lines with Republicans voting Yes and Democrats voting No. Reps. Young (R-AK) and McClintock (R-CA) voted No, and Reps. Polis (D-CO) and Clay (D-MO) voted for the bill. Rep. Fleming (R-LA) voted “present.”

Next step is for the bill to be scheduled for a floor vote before the full House, though this possibility is uncertain given a crowded legislative schedule and shortened election-year calendar. The bill is strongly opposed by many commercial fishermen around the US, including the entire commercial red snapper fishery. It is also opposed by a majority of the red snapper charter fleet. The MFCN is strongly opposed to this legislation.

Previous Updates

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing entitled “The Impacts of Federal Fisheries Management on Small Businesses” at 10:00am EST on Thursday, March 3, 2016.

The House Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3094, the “Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act,” on Thursday, October 22, 2015.