Alabama fishery managers get vote of confidence
Conservation Advisory Board passes resolution supporting state management of red snapper fishery
State fishery managers got a resounding endorsement last weekend when the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board adopted a resolution in support of shifting management of the red snapper fishery in state and federal waters off Alabama’s Gulf Coast to the Marine Resources Division (MRD) of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The resolution cited a number of significant achievements by the Marine Resources Division, including:
- Improving marine fisheries habitat through the creation of the largest artificial reef network in the United States;
- Establishing Alabama’s Gulf Coast as a preeminent destination for recreational anglers;
- Implementing an innovative and unprecedented harvest data collection program known as “Snapper Check” that has proven the federal government is overestimating the recreational harvest of red snapper in Alabama by more than 250 percent;
- Demonstrating an ability to effectively manage, protect, and promote the sustainability of the red snapper fishery that is substantially superior to the current federal management regime
“Sportsmen just have so much to be thankful for in this state and much of it is attributable to the hard work and foresight of our state wildlife managers,” said Blakeley Ellis, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association Alabama. “We are proud of the work that Chris Blankenship, Kevin Anson and the staff at MRD are doing on behalf of our marine resources, and we applaud the Board’s decision to place its confidence in them when it comes to the red snapper fishery.”
Gulf red snapper remains one of the most cementitious fisheries in the nation, and has been complicated by federal management policies that have awarded private ownership privileges to commercial operators and left recreational anglers with extremely limited opportunities. CCA is supporting federal legislation (HR 3094) that would shift management of the entire red snapper fishery to the Gulf states.
“Alabama’s Marine Resources Division has clearly demonstrated they can effectively manage fisheries not only for the benefit of a species, but also to maximize public access to those fisheries,” said Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Manager for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We commend the Conservation Advisory Board for recognizing that the only path to effective red snapper management for all Alabamians rests with their local experts in the MRD.”