Coalition Letter to State Governors on Red Snapper

Posted on March 20, 2015

March 20, 2015

Governor Robert Bentley  | State of Alabama
Governor Rick Scott  State | of Florida
Governor Bobby Jindal | State of Louisiana
Governor Phil Bryant  State | of Mississippi
Governor Greg Abbott | State of Texas


Dear Governor Bentley, Governor Scott, Governor Jindal, Governor Bryant and Governor Abbott:
The undersigned organizations and companies are representatives of the vast saltwater
recreational angling community that generates more than $70 billion in economic activity
across the nation. Our hundreds of thousands of members and customers have been the
driving force behind significant conservation victories and marine habitat programs in your
state, and in every coastal state, for decades. In countless ways, these anglers have steadfastly
supported the advancement of marine science and enhanced the capabilities of wildlife law
enforcement agencies. Their sportsmen’s ethic of stewardship and financial support through
license dollars and excise taxes are the very foundation that makes the U.S. model of wildlife
management unique and envied throughout the world.


As representatives of that community, we are writing you to confirm our support of the
state-based Gulf red snapper management model that was recently formulated by the
fisheries directors of the Gulf states. We are completely confident that this well-thought-out
plan will allow for the Gulf red snapper population to continue to rebuild while allowing for
reasonable public access to this public resource. The states have an outstanding track record
of successful fisheries management, as evidenced by the numerous economically important
and biologically sustainable marine fish stocks that are under state management, including
red drum, speckled trout, snook, and many others. Gulf red snapper management has
proven to be immensely challenging, exacerbated by failures of federal management, and we
are appreciative of the states’ willingness and capability to right the ship.


How we manage our wildlife resources is just as important as the results of that
management. The means being employed by the federal government to manage this fishery
are fundamentally at odds with how the states have managed their wild natural resources so
successfully for both species abundance and access by the American public. It is not at all
surprising that the state fisheries directors, who are extremely well versed in the
machinations of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, have elected to explore
alternatives to the current course of management. There is no doubt that those few who are
reaping the rewards of the federal management system will protest vehemently against any
idea that threatens the windfall that has been given to them.


On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast citizens who willingly and selflessly
take on their role as stewards of the marine environment, as well as the businesses that
depend on healthy and accessible marine fisheries, we are grateful that the states are again
taking a leadership role to find a management system that works for everyone.


Sincerely,

 

Mike Nussman, President and CEO, American Sportfishing Association
Jeff Angers, President, Center for Coastal Conservation
Patrick Murray, President, Coastal Conservation Association
Jeff Crane, President, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Steve Stock, President. Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation
Rob Kramer, President, International Game Fish Association
Thom Dammrich, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association
Ellen Peel, President, The Billfish Foundation