July 30, 2014
If Amendment 40 passes, it is likely that up to 75 percent of the entire Gulf red snapper fishery will be privately held, for private profit.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has scheduled a series of public hearings over the next few weeks on a dangerous privatization scheme for Gulf red snapper (see full schedule below). Reef Fish Amendment 40 - Sector Separation proposes to separate charter/for-hire businesses from the recreational sector and give personalized allotments of red snapper to use as their own.
The concept has been cast as a reasonable response to a broken federal management system, but it is a perilous development for recreational angling as it represents a huge step in the privatization of our fisheries.
Amendment 40 has only been promoted by commercial fishermen and a very select few charter/for-hire operators. It is a misguided response to a broken federal management system that delivered a nine-day recreational red snapper season in 2014. Rather than fix that system, some are seeking to take advantage of the chaos and grab a private portion of red snapper.
If Amendment 40 passes, it is likely that up to 75 percent of the entire Gulf red snapper fishery will be privately held by a few individuals, for private profit. If Amendment 40 passes, it could become the model to apply to other species under federal management. In response to a broken federal system that does not know how to manage the recreational red snapper fishery, the answer cannot be to simply lock anglers out of the fishery altogether and ignore them.
This public comment period is the last hurdle before it comes up for a final vote at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Even if you do not fish offshore, privatization of public wildlife resources must be opposed by every sportsman, everywhere.
Please attend one of these hearings and speak out against Amendment 40. Personal appearances are given greater weight in this convoluted process, but if you cannot attend, use the link below to make your opinion known. Send this notice to your fishing and hunting friends and family, and urge them to get involved. We are at a precarious fork in the road that could change the way this country manages our fisheries and wildlife forever.
Click here for background information on the Amendment 40 privatization scheme and get involved. Proponents of catch shares and privatization are counting on the complexity of this issue and the frustration over red snapper to lull the public into inaction. They are counting on passing Amendment 40 before anyone really knows what's in it and what it means. Once the long-term impact of this action is realized, it will be too late.
Click here to comment online (link provided by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council).