WINNING THE RED SNAPPER “WAR”? NEW MANAGEMENT BY GULF STATES OFFICIALLY PROPOSED!

The five Gulf States , through their Fisheries and Wildlife agencies, have formulated a plan to take control of red snapper management away from the Federal Government – through NOAA and NMFS – and give it to the new coalition of these states – AND this would be valid not just in waters within 9 miles already more-or-less controlled by the states, but out the the EEZ limit of 200 miles offshore! This move will allow for more sensible and response red snapper management by the people whom are effected by such actions the most – the residents and fishermen of the Gulf States. The announcement is below, although it did not convert perfectly to my website formatting. This is a definite “win” for fishermen of the Gulf, and all the agencies involved should be applauded and praised! Giving them a thank-you message would be entirely appropriate!

March 13, 2015
To Whom It May Concern:
Management of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico continues to be a major challenge with
increasing dissatisfaction among anglers and serious calls for restructuring the Gulf red snapper
management system.
As a result, a number of proposals
and v
arious drafts of legislation
for changing
this system have emerged. Recognizing that significant changes are being considered, the marine
fisheries directors from the five Gulf States have been engaged in an effort to develop and document
a
n alternative to
the current
management strategy that has mutual agreement and support.
Together, we have developed a framework for cooperative state

based management of Gulf red
snapper
;
the
enclosed document
outlines
the conceptual
elements
of that plan.
Under this al
ternative concept, the Gulf
States
would coordinate management of red snapper
throughout the Gulf of Mexico through a new, independent body called the Gulf States Red Snapper
Management Authority (GSRSMA). The GSRSMA would be comprised of the principle
mar
ine
fisheries managers
from each Gulf
States
, and the management
authority for
Gulf red snapper would
no longer reside within the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
The GSRSMA framework outlines a
straightforward
process that would allow states to
use flexible
management approaches to manage red snapper to meet local
needs
as well as Gulf

wide
conservation goals
. Each state would be responsible for all management of red snapper in
their
respective
state and
adjacent
federal waters. The GSRSMA would
approve each
state’s
management
plan, coordinate
population
assessments, provide
consistent
accountability measures, and distribute
federal funding for research, assessment,
and
management.
Each state fisheries management agency places great value in
working together in pa
rtnership and
collaboration to e
nsure we have a robust, sustainable, and accessible red snapper fishery in the Gulf.
The
states recognize the importance of the red snapper fishery
to
the fabric and identity of
local
communities
throu
ghout the Gulf as well as the tremendous economic impact that it provides each
state.
Thank you for the opportunity to present to you the GSRSMA concept
agreed upon by each state
.
I
f
there are any questions or comments about the concept, please do not hes
itate to contact any of us
directly.
Sincerely,
Robin Riechers
Randy Pausina
Director of Coastal Fisheries
Assistant Secretary, Office of Fisheries
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries
Jamie Mil
ler
Chris Blankenship
Executive Director
Director, Marine Resources Division
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
Alabama Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources
Jessica McCawley
Director, Division of Marine Fisheries Management
Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Enclosure
Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA)
This document outlines elements of a plan in which the Gulf States would coordinate
management of red snapper throughout the Gulf of Mexico throu
gh the Gulf States Red
Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA).
Management
The governing body of GSRSMA would be comprised of the principal fisheries manager (or
his/her proxy) from each of the five Gulf States. There would be a rotating chair serving a
tw
o

year term. All actions of GSRSMA would be by majority vote. The primary function of the
GSRSMA would be approval of each state’s or group of states’ Red Snapper Fisheries
Management Plan (hereafter referred to as the Plan) which would address all compone
nts
(commercial and recreational) of the Gulf States red snapper fishery. The Plan may extend to
multiple years with annual review of specific components to include, but not limited to:
assessment methodology, data collection, annual management measures an
d timelines.
The Plan would include an initial three

year prohibition on any actions that might affect
individual fishing quotas or management structure of the commercial fishery, effective from
date of adoption by GSRSMA.
During this period, NOAA Fisheri
es through the Gulf of
Mexico Fishery Management Council would continue to manage the commercial fishery
under existing regulations.
Each state would be responsible for the management of the fishery in their respective state
territorial sea and adjacent e
xclusive economic zone (EEZ) water using the best available
science and information. The states would be required to ensure overfishing will not occur
through the full range of management and assessment strategies available to each state or
group of states
acting in concert. These strategies would not be limited to those based on
total allowable catch. The GSRSMA, as a whole would annually review and approve the red
snapper management actions of an individual state or groups of states acting in concert. If
the status of the fishery in each state is in equilibrium or expanding, no change in
management actions may be required. If the status of the fishery is below equilibrium or
declining, the responsible state or states would be required to take appropriate
action to
revise existing management actions to establish equilibrium, and those actions would have to
be approved by the GSRSMA.
The GSRSMA or each state would be required to prepare an annual report on the status of
the fishery based on the individual
states (or states acting in concert) management strategies
and assessment methodologies.
The GSRSMA will conduct a periodic gulf

wide population
review of red snapper on a schedule not to exceed every 5 years.
Assessment
Each individual state or group of states would conduct an assessment of the status of red
snapper populations within their adjacent waters. The full range of assessment
methodologies would be available to each state or group of states using the best availa
ble
science to inform management actions.
Assessments would be conducted periodically
on a timeline determined by the GSRSMA.
Assessment methodologies and data collection strategies for both fisheries dependent and
independent data would be approved by t
he GSRSMA.
T
he GSRSMA would be required to
conduct a periodic and Gulf

wide population review of the health of the fishery and status of
red snapper on a schedule not to exceed five years between such assessments.
Accountability
Each Gulf state would for
mally agree to comply fully with management measures developed
through the GSRSMA

approved Plan under a memorandum of agreement. The GSRSMA
could request additional accountability actions through the Secretary of Commerce if a Gulf
state or group of Gulf
states adopted management measures or regulations significantly
inconsistent from the red snapper management framework identified in the Plan when such
inconsistent measures could negatively impact the interests of other Gulf states with regard
to red snap
per management.
The procedures established as part of the Striped Bass Act,
Sec. 5153

Monitoring of
Implementation and Enforcement by Coastal States would serve as a model for developing
procedures for action through the Secretary of Commerce specific t
o the red snapper fishery
in the Gulf of Mexico. Federal action to provide accountability and ensure consistency would
be limited to the federal waters adjacent to the state(s) that adopted inconsistent
management measures or actions. Under no circumstan
ces would federal authority or action
supersede that of an individual state within designated state waters. The following link
provides greater detail on the procedures used by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission in regards to management of st
riped bass:
http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/Striped_Bass_Act.pdf
State regulation of red snapper would extend seaward from a state’s shoreline to the 200
mile limit (Figure 1). Individual states would enforce regulations within their boundaries
under l
icensing to that state or with agreement and appropriate licensing in other adjacent
states.
State regulations related to red snapper
under the Plan would apply to all fishing
activities
associated with red snapper landed in a given state, not just state registered
vessels.
State waters for all Gulf States would extend to nine nautical miles for the purpose of uniform
enforcement and management actions related to red snapper.
Funding
Federal funding specific to red snapper now going to federal research, assessment and
management would be appropriated to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and
passed through to the states for use and distribution under the GSRSMA.
Federal
f
undi
ng of enforcement that is currently provided to the Gulf States for fisheries
enforcement shall not be reduced because of transfer of red snapper management to
GSRSMA. Federal agents will work in concert with deputized state agents to enforce state
regulat
ions approved by the GSRSMA.
The National Marine Fisheries Service will continue to provide access to all fisheries data
and services available before transfer of red snapper management under the same
arrangements and conditions
after the
transfer of mana
gement authority to GSRSMA.
Figure 1. Jurisdictional boundaries designated for enforcement purposes at a state level.
These boundaries may be adjusted based on state(s) exercising the option to work in concert
on regulations with each other.
Statutory Provisions
In order to establish the GSRSMA, the management of red snapper must be vacated from
the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan and
any provisions that have been established for red snapper with th
at plan or any amendments
to that plan.
Additionally, this Act and any provisions of this Act regarding management and enforcement
of any regulations and management provisions to the extent that there is any conflict will take
precedence over the MSA and
any portions of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management
Council’s Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan.
Key Provisions
Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA)
This document provides a summary of the key elements of a plan in which the Gulf stat
es
would coordinate management of red snapper throughout the Gulf of Mexico through the
proposed Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA).
Management & Assessment

The governing body for the GSRSMA would be comprised of the principal fisheries
manager (or his/her proxy) from each of the five Gulf States.
o
Primary function of the GSRSMA would be approval of each state’s Red
Snapper Fisheries Management Plan which woul
d address all components of
the fishery.
o
Within each Plan there would be an initial three year prohibition on actions
affecting individual fishing quotas.

Using the best available science, each state would be responsible for the
management of the fishery i
n their respective state territorial sea and adjacent
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters to ensure that overfishing would not occur.

Reporting requirements will include an annual report on the status of the fishery from
each state(s) and a gulf

wide popu
lation review will be conducted at least every 5
years.
Accountability

Each state would formally agree to comply fully with management measures
developed through the GSRSMA

approved Plan.

The GSRSMA could request additional accountability actions through the Secretary
of Commerce if a Gulf state or group of Gulf states adopted management measures
or regulations significantly inconsistent with the Plan.

Any accountability action based on a r
equest to the Secretary of Commerce would be
limited to federal waters adjacent to the state or states that adopted measures
inconsistent with the Plan.

State regulations and enforcement of those regulations for red snapper would extend
seaward from a stat
es shoreline to the 200 mile limit.

State waters for all Gulf States would extend to nine nautical miles for the purpose of
uniform enforcement and management actions related to red snapper.
Funding

Federal funding for research, assessment and management
of red snapper would be
appropriated to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and passed to the
states.

Federal
f
unding for fisheries enforcement shall continue at current levels and NMFS
will continue to share fisheries data and other data necessary
for management after
transfer of authority.
Statutory Provisions

Provisions of this Act will take precedence over the MSA and any portions of the Gulf
of Mexico Fishery Management Council Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan.

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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One Response to WINNING THE RED SNAPPER “WAR”? NEW MANAGEMENT BY GULF STATES OFFICIALLY PROPOSED!

  1. MikeH says:

    Not sure, only it is a size of page problem?

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