TALK ON THE DOCK
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved exempted fishing permits (EFPS) for all five Gulf states, removing a major hurdle from the initiative to let each manage recreational red snapper fishing off their respective coasts.
The EFPS, which cover the 2018 and 2019 fishing years, allow recreationally caught red snapper to be landed within certain time periods determined by the respective states. Red snapper landings would be monitored by the states, and the respective state seasons would close when the state’s quota is caught or projected to be caught.
Development and approval of the Gulf states’ EFPS was facilitated by language from Sen. Richard Shelby, R-ala., in the FY2017 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill that directed NOAA Fisheries to develop the fishery management pilot program allowing states to manage Gulf red snapper. With the Gulf council’s approval, NOAA is now required to publish the plans and allow for a 30-day comment period. NOAA must then ratify each plan before implementation.
“As an organization that has long pushed for state management of Gulf red snapper, we are thankful for the Gulf council’s vote to allow the states to test red snapper management. Each of the Gulf states is to be commended for putting forward well-thought-out proposals that will demonstrate their ability to effectively manage recreational red snapper fishing,” said American Sportfishing Association’s Conservation Director Mike Leonard.