The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has recommended that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) approve pilots for all five Gulf States to test state management of recreational fishing for red snapper. The Council’s approval of the pilots, known as Exempted Fishing Permits or EFPs, came with the caveat that the decision by some states to include their federal charter/for-hire vessels (and the corresponding quota allocations that are associated with them) not result in shrinking the federal charter season for the rest of the states.
The following is a statement from Matt Tinning, Senior Director of Environmental Defense Fund’s US Oceans Program:
“EDF has long called for innovations in the way we manage recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, and we applaud those who are considering new approaches. We support this two-year opportunity for the states to show that they can manage their private red snapper anglers under the conservation tenets of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
“It is important that federal charter boats who do not wish to participate are treated fairly. These captains have worked for years to stabilize their seasons and are now close to finishing development of new federal fishery management plans.
“We stand ready to provide support to NMFS, state fishery leaders, and fishermen as they undertake the complex discussions necessary to resolve the remaining issues.”