Below is a news release from the Congressional Sportsman Caucus. Everyone who likes to fish should read what they have to say.

Public Action Needed to Protect Access for Gulf of Mexico Recreational Anglers

Protect access to saltwater fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond!

July 14, 2014 (Washington, DC) - The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (Council) is currently moving ahead on a proposed amendment that will divide segments of the recreational fishing community against each other without addressing the fundamental problems with recreational red snapper management. Amendment 40, also known as "sector separation," will divide the recreational angler's 49% share of the snapper fishery roughly in half between private recreational anglers and charter-for-hire and head boat owners.

Federal management of Gulf red snapper is allowing only nine recreational fishing days in 2014 for a variety of reasons, including overly rigid statutory requirements, lawsuits and political influence by commercial and environmental organizations. Rather than work to develop real solutions to the challenges facing recreational red snapper management, the Council is proposing to create further division and infighting among stakeholders by subdividing the recreational sector. The recreational fishing community has a small window of time to stop this troubling amendment from moving forward, but we must organize and act quickly.

The next two Gulf Council meetings will decide the fate of our access to the Gulf of Mexico fishery, and these meetings are the final opportunity for action. CSF and six organizations from the recreational fishing community recently voiced their support for necessary action needed to protect access for Gulf of Mexico recreational anglers. Click here to view a joint statement.

CSF and its recreational fishing partners urges you to participate in these critical public hearings.

August 25 - 29, 2014
Beau Rivage
875 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39530

October 20 - 24, 2014
Renaissance Battle House
26 N. Royal Street
Mobile, AL 36602



CSF urges those who can attend the public hearings to speak against dividing the recreational component into two different sectors because:
Dividing the recreational sector further by expanding the commercial model to half of the recreational sector isn't a solution, it's a recipe for more hardships for many charter boat owners and all private recreational anglers. The solution is not to divide the recreational community, but to collectively push for a system of management that is appropriate for the entire recreational sector.

Despite what the commercial industry and environmental groups proclaim, recreational anglers (both private and for-hire components) have been "accountable". We abide by the regulations and do what we are asked to do. It's the federal system of fisheries management that has been "unaccountable" and failed the recreational community as a whole.

This type of management philosophy, for all practical purposes, will effectively eliminate the red snapper recreational season in federal waters for the private angler. It will be nearly impossible for someone to trailer their boat to the Gulf or schedule vacation around what will likely be two or three days of snapper season.

NOAA Fisheries has failed to provide any credible analysis of the economic impacts of this course of management.

This isn't just a threat for Gulf of Mexico red snapper anglers. If the red snapper recreational component in the Gulf is allowed to be divided and privatized, it will set a precedent and create a model for other popular sportfish fisheries in the Gulf and along a coast near you.

Since 1989 CSF has maintained a singleness of purpose that has guided the organization to become the most respected and trusted sportsmen's organization in the political arena. CSF's mission is to work with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping. The unique and collective force of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC), the Governors Sportsmen's Caucus (GSC) and the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC), working closely with CSF, and with the support of major hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping organizations, serves as an unprecedented network of pro-sportsmen elected officials that advance the interests of America's hunters and anglers.