A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers introduced legislation in Washington, D.C. yesterday supporting a coordinated Gulf states partnership that would chart a new course for the management of red snapper, according to a press release.

This came after a letter sent to the U.S. House and Senate leadership signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and the governors of Texas, Florida and Mississippi stated that federal management of Gulf red snapper is “irretrievably broken.”

The Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act would establish a coordinated Gulf states partnership for red snapper management through which the states would fully comply with a management plan approved and adopted by the Gulf States Marines Fisheries Commission. The partnership would be similar to how the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission manages striped bass and how the Gulf states manage red drum, according to the release from CCA-Louisiana.

“Federal management of red snapper has painted itself into a corner. We have a robust red snapper population in the Gulf, but 2013 was as chaotic a season as anglers have ever seen,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “The season started as the shortest ever, saw a revolt by some states that resulted in even shorter seasons, endured a lawsuit, received a glowing stock assessment and the promise of a fall season, only to crash on wild estimates of over harvest that put the fall season in jeopardy. 

“This is no way to manage a fishery, and this legislation presents a way out of this no-win situation,” Angers said in the release.

Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association, said a shift to state-based management has produced better results with other fisheries.

“State fish and wildlife management professionals have a strong track record of managing their fishery resources in order to achieve the right balance between sustainability and quality fishing opportunities,” Nussman said. “The ongoing red snapper debacle in the Gulf is begging for the opportunity to put proven state-based management approaches to work.”

Louisiana lawmakers involved in the legislation include Rep. Cedric Richmond, Rep. Charles Boustany and Rep. Steve Scalise, according to the release.