The Louisiana restaurant industry wants and relies on fair and sustainably managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. This means equal consideration for restaurant and consumers as well as fishermen. We recognize that recreational anglers currently face harsh rules on favorites like red snapper, grouper and others. At the same time, fishermen, seafood providers, restaurant owners and chefs with Share the Gulf are asking: How does taking fish from consumers help solve the problems facing anglers?In the Gulf of Mexico the red snapper allocation between commercial and recreational fishing is just about even (51% commercial and 49% recreational). The recreational interests have sought as the total catch increases to allocate more of it for recreational fishing. The LRA supports today’s allocation percentages whether based on the current allowable catch or any future allocation increase.
There is an important fact being overlooked. Recreational and commercial fishermen harvesting red snapper have seen a 70 percent jump in the amount they’re allowed to catch in just the past five years. Commercial fishermen, seafood businesses and consumer are reaping benefits because the management plan works (and helps promote fish population recovery).Unfortunately, angling seasons continue to shrink, regardless of the 70 percent more fish, because the underlying recreational management plan remains broken. Anglers are understandably angry, but assigning them more fish (reallocation) won’t help. Instead, it hurts more people and more businesses. It’s already difficult for many chefs to source many options for fresh Gulf fish and this would make it even harder.
Many of us enjoy recreational fishing with our families and friends, and we want our children to experience catching their own dinner. We also know that many recreational fishermen enjoy ordering fresh local fish in Gulf seafood restaurants.Recreational fishing is important to the economy and so are the small businesses tied to the “commercial fishery” and the “supply chain” like restaurants, grocery stores, distributors, shippers and others.
Let’s talk about solutions and new management options. Let’s talk about what everyone’s goals are and how we can achieve them together. Let’s stand up together and ask the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to focus their attention on recreational management plans that will actually extend seasons over the long-term, improve data collection and reporting and enhance sustainability.Through the Share the Gulf coalition, we hope to work with recreational fishermen throughout the Gulf to find productive long term solutions for this shared resource.
Join the Share the Gulf coalition today!