Open Letter to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

ASA_Logo_LrgAugust 13, 2015

Letter to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

On behalf of the recreational fishing industry, we are writing to show our support for Alternative 9 and Amendment 28 relative to red snapper reallocation.

We are sure that the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has been inundated by the commercial fishing and restaurant industries with letters and emails requesting that you not support reallocation of red snapper between commercial and recreational fishermen. Before making any decisions regarding this issue, we believe it is vital that you have accurate information.

The facts about Amendment 28 on re-allocation of red snapper that the recreational fishing community advocates are as follows:

  • Over the past several years, you have gone through an extensive review of red snapper allocation. Amendment 28 was developed to address the allocation issue which has also undergone extensive review and debate. During this process, and with a new data collection system, scientists conducting the red snapper review process found errors in historic recreational data used to set the current allocation. The pounds of fish that historically should have been allocated to the recreational fishery were actually allocated to the commercial sector. Amendment 28 recognizes this misallocation.
  • The alternatives in Amendment 28, which are supported by the American Sportfishing Association, strive to correct this error. You admit that the increase in red snapper available after 2014 is based on scientifically documented underestimates of catch and other changes in the recreational fishery. We believe that these fish should be retained in the recreational fishery.
  • The argument put forth by the restaurant industry that this will take fish off the table of millions of consumers is also inaccurate. If alternative 8 or 9 are passed, the commercial fishery (and restaurant industry) will gain fish for their industry, relative to 2014.
  • The economic information presented during this amendment process, and on record, supports a change in allocation. Both alternatives that we support are modest changes and are supported by scientific analyses and past discussions.

Annually, three million Floridians and visitors recreationally fish in Florida which translates into $8.6 billion in economic activity and more than 80,000 jobs. We find the unprecedented opposition to even a modest and justified change in allocation to the recreational sector to be unacceptable.

We thank you for recognizing that current allocations are based on proven errors in the data and urge you to address this in Amendment 28.

Dave Bulthuis                                               Mike Nussman                                 Gary Jennings
Costa, Daytona Beach, Florida                    ASA President and CEO                  Manager, Keep Florida Fishing
Chairman, ASA Board of Directors              Alexandria, Virginia                          Windermere, Florida

Amendment 28 – Red Snapper Reallocation