Governor of Louisiana opposes red snapper legislation transferring oversight
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries published an open letter on Wednesday, 22 June stating their opposition to legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) that would transfer oversight over of the Gulf of Mexico’s red snapper fishery from the federal government to those of the Gulf states.
In his letter, the governor said the legislation, H.R. 3094, would not provide funding to allow the state to responsibly manage the fishery.
“H.R. 3094, as recently amended by Congressman Bishop, would not transfer any federal funding to the states to conduct necessary stock assessments, research, data collection, or enforcement. Without federal funding, Louisiana could potentially lack the proper resources to manage the red snapper fishery,” the governor wrote.
“H.R. 3094 would not be a viable option for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. It would be fiscally irresponsible for the department to support any mandate that would result in an unknown amount of fiscal burden placed on the State of Louisiana for the management of a single species of fish,” the statement continued. “As a department, we are charged with managing our fisheries resources for optimum yield; the same applies to our fiscal resources. “
Gov. Edwards, a Democrat, said in his letter that he understood that “some of our user groups are frustrated with the current federal management of red snapper under the authority of NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.”
Ewards said his administration remained, “committed to working with NOAA Fisheries, the Council and its members, and all interested stakeholders to ensure optimum utilization of and fair and equitable access to the red snapper resource.”
“The Department’s goal is to begin a collaborative dialogue with our state and federal partners to find a durable solution to these issues concerning management of the red snapper resource for the public good,” he wrote.
The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, which represents the commercial red snapper fishery in the Gulf, praised the governor’s letter.
“The commercial and charter industries in the Gulf support this responsible leadership position taken by the state of Louisiana and will continue to oppose this unsupported, irresponsible, precedent-setting, unfunded mandate,” Eric Brazer, the organization’s deputy director, said in a press release.