FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2018
Contact: Regan Nelson, Marine Resource Program Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
AFFTA President Ben Bulis issued the following statement regarding the approval of a two-year, state-led Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) pilot program for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bozeman, MT – “On Tuesday, NOAA Fisheries approved a two-year pilot program that will allow five Gulf Coast states to set red snapper fishing seasons for private recreational anglers in federal waters through Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs) in exchange for more rigorous data collection and reporting. The program will be in place for the 2018 and 2019 seasons and will include Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Anglers have been clamoring for better data, flexible access, more state management, and relief from short federal water access. Under the approved pilot program, each state was issued its own EFP, allowing them to set their own red snapper season, monitor their catch, and close the season in both state and federal water when the state quota is reached.
When Governor Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) proposed their own EFP pilot program as a way to collect data on the population of red snapper last year, we applauded their innovative approach to balancing angler access with science-based conservation measures.
With the formalization of a Gulf-wide pilot program, we again welcome the opportunity to explore whether a state-managed system can provide anglers more opportunity to harvest fish while ensuring overfishing limits are not exceeded and the red snapper population continues to rebuild, as required under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
The pilot program demonstrates the existing flexibility of the Magnuson Stevens Act, which provided the authority for NOAA Fisheries to work with the Gulf States and approve these EFPs.”
AFFTA advocates for and promotes the sustained growth of the fly fishing industry. By igniting consumer demand for products and services, providing businesses the tools to be successful, and advocating for access, protection and restoration of fishing waters, we will continue to enhance the passion and profitability of the sport of fly fishing.