WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today applauded the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for withdrawing from the flawed federal program for estimating recreational red snapper harvest in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal program tasked with red snapper stock assessments say they have been overharvested this summer and will shut down the fall season.
“There’s no reason Louisiana anglers should get punished for federal miscalculations and bogus data,” Vitter said. “I trust the state’s estimates much more than the federal agency’s here and I fully support the state’s decision to walk away from the federal program. I’ll continue fighting to give coastal states the authority to regulate their own natural and commercial offshore resources which will help alleviate financial troubles and allow a much more local approach.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Recreation Information Program (MRIP) estimated nearly 200,000 more pounds of red snapper harvested than state estimates indicate. This has resulted in NOAA’s determination that Louisiana has overharvested red snapper and may significantly shorten their fall season from 21 days to as few as 7 days.
On February 28, Vitter and other U.S. Senators requested a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of the methodology and practices of NOAA’s stock assessments which have been using controversial data and science. The review is still pending.
Vitter also has legislation, the Offshore Fairness Act, which allows states to have exclusive fishery management over the red snapper fish, the lutjuanus campechanus, within a jurisdiction of 200 miles out from their coastline. Click here to read more about the legislation .