News Alerts:

Enter your email to receive news alerts from us:

Recent:

  1. Hidden Costs of Stagnant Minimum Wage
    July 28, 2014 | By Jennifer Marsden  
  2. You’ll Never Guess Who Just Bought Half of UAB’s Football Tickets
    July 22, 2014 | By Dave Folk  
  3. For Uber Bad Ideas, Look No Further than Birmingham’s City Council
    July 21, 2014 | By Dave Folk  
  4. Right Women, Right Now (Kay Ivey)
    June 19, 2014 | By Kay Ivey  
  5. Welcome to Shawshank: Prison Reform in Alabama
    June 18, 2014 | By Steven Boydstun  
advertisement

Recent Blogs:

  1. The Northern Beltline a Boon to Northwest Birmingham
    June 4, 2014 | By Wesley Vaughn  
  2. House of Byrnes
    February 26, 2014 | By West Honeycutt  
  3. Barking up the Wrong Tree in the Alabama House
    February 25, 2014 | By Wesley Vaughn  
  4. The Sermon on the Mount-gomery
    February 20, 2014 | By Wesley Vaughn  
  5. Republicans Still Don’t Get It
    February 11, 2014 | By Michael Hansen  
  6. Not Getting Jobbed by Bentley’s Job Numbers
    February 3, 2014 | By Wesley Vaughn  
  7. The Southern Snowstorm and Sprawl
    January 31, 2014 | By Wesley Vaughn  
  8. Two Good Initiatives in Alabama That Make Me Happy
    January 24, 2014 | By Wesley Vaughn  
  9. The Crimson White Covers Sweet Home Politics Launch
    January 23, 2014 | By West Honeycutt  
  10. House Democrats’ Legislative Agenda
    January 21, 2014 | By Wesley Vaughn  

Tags:

Committee Passage of Fisheries Bill Means Relief (Bradley Byrne)

  |   By: Bradley Byrne     |   Letters to the Editor

So often, it seems that Washington operates outside of the realm of common sense. The Red Snapper issue is no different, with the federal government refusing to sample on reefs for this reef fish, hurting our coastal communities. Thankfully, last week the House Natural Resources Committee, of which I am a Member, passed the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act. This bill, which reauthorizes the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, was last reauthorized in 2006 and has jurisdiction over all federal fisheries – including authorizations for setting Red Snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico each year.

More than anything, our fishermen and coastal communities need relief. This bill will grant it to them.

First, the bill repeals Section 407(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which imposed inflexible quotas on Red Snapper fishing. Earlier this year, I introduced legislation called the SNAPR Act which mirrors this language in order to give the courts added flexibility to restore our season back from the devastating 9 days that was ordered this year.

Second, this legislation extends the Alabama state water boundary from the current 3 nautical miles to 9 nautical miles from shore. Fishermen’s groups have made the case for this reform, arguing that it would effectively give the state more control over its own resources and the option for a more reasonable fishing season as well as creating equality in state water boundaries between all the Gulf states. We know that the federal government’s incompetence in regulating this issue is the root of this problem. This is a step in the right direction to direct more power back to the states.

Finally, I am pleased the committee adopted my amendment to remove stock assessment and data collection responsibilities for reef fish currently held by the federal government. Local experts like Dr. Bob Shipp at the University of South Alabama have long argued that the federal government’s data collection practices are flawed and do not accurately reflect the Red Snapper stocks in the Gulf. By removing this authority from the federal government and placing it in the hands of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, a state-run organization, we will clear the way for the Gulf Council to be able to rely on better data to make decisions moving forward.

This fight is not over, but we are making progress. We are forcing the federal government to give back power to those who know what they are doing and have a vested interested in caring for these stocks. I’m glad to restore common sense into the regulatory process and provide relief to our fishermen who are in dire need, and I’ll keep working to make steps forward on this issue.

Follow Bradley on Twitter at @BradleyByrne

Bradley Byrne is a Republican United States Congressman representing Alabama's First Congressional District. He is married to his wife of more than 30 years (Rebecca) and the father of four children.