Byrne introduces bill to repeal fishery law

Published 10:06 am Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) announced that he has introduced his first standalone bill as a congressman, the “Supporting New Avenues to Protect Our Fishermen’s Resources (SNAPR) Act.”

This bill would repeal Section 407(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which mandates inflexible quotas on recreational and commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. These quotas are overseen by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

On March 27, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the federal government failed to properly regulate the established quotas under Section 407(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, allowing recreational fishermen to exceed their limits. Based on this decision, on Tuesday night the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Reef Fish Committee held an emergency meeting and voted to shorten the 2014 Red Snapper season from the original 40 days to 11 days.

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“Our regulatory framework for fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico is unquestionably broken,” Byrne said. “The District Court ruling last month is a clear signal that we need to make significant reforms to this system right away.

“An 11-day red Snapper season would be a devastating blow to the coastal communities that are dependent on this industry. Today, I am taking action to provide emergency relief for our Gulf fishermen. I am confident that by repealing the quota requirements in the Magnuson-Stevens law upon which the court based its decision, we will give the Gulf Council sufficient flexibility to reverse their decision limiting the red snapper season to 11 days.

“I look forward to working with Chairman Doc Hastings and my colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee to alleviate this burdensome restriction without delay.”