Last week, Congressman Steve Southerland came to a meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Given his divisive position on de-funding catch shares, we were surprised to hear the Congressman's praise for the Gulf Council and his call for improvements to the stock assessment process.
Stock assessments are the building block for accountable fisheries management, and as conservation-minded fishermen that rely on accountable management systems, the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' Alliance is encouraged by the Congressman's speech and his focus on building solutions rather than de-funding management opportunities.
We trust that the Congressman understands that there's more to this than simply talking about the need for better stock assessments. Stock assessments cost money, and right now the National Marine Fisheries Service doesn't have enough funding for more and better stock assessments. We hope that the Congressman stays true to his word by using his congressional authority to deliver funding to NMFS for annual stock assessments for red snapper and all other fish species in the Gulf.
Keith "Buddy" Guindon
Executive Director, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' Alliance