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Federal effort underway to prevent red snapper season from being cut short

Republican members of Alabama’s congressional delegation are expressing concerns over a move by federal bureaucracy that could result in fewer red snapper fishing days for Alabama’s Gulf anglers.

In a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, dozens of congressional representatives from the Gulf Coast region detailed their opposition to a measure proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

According to a release, the proposal would require all state fisheries data to be converted into a single federal system, which the letter’s cosigners maintain is less accurate than the current state management data.

Depending upon how the data is calculated, which counts the number of red snapper caught in a given season, the number of days Alabama anglers are allowed to fish could be shortened. Additionally, the members of Congress opposed to the measure contend that a federalized approach to fishery oversight could hold adverse economic consequences.

In a statement outlining his opposition to the proposal, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) praised states’ efforts to manage the data.

“I am deeply concerned by the NMFS’s recent proposed rule regarding calibration and its apparent disregard for the Magnuson-Stevens Act,” noted the senator. “This state-management initiative is no small undertaking, and our Gulf States have gone above and beyond to ensure the best, most sustainable outcome. However, when NMFS ignores the Great Red Snapper Count and uses outdated and inaccurate data in their decision-making process, it does not seem committed to finding an effective solution to the issue at hand.”

According to U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), Alabama’s Gulf region requires no federal oversight of red snapper count.

“Folks in south Alabama know how much Red Snapper we have in the Gulf, and we know how to manage it right,” asserted Carl. “The last thing we need is bureaucrats from Washington, D.C., preventing us from going out and fishing next summer.”

Shelby and Carl were joined by U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), Mike Rogers (R-Saks), Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) in signing the letter.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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