WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), today released a statement on NOAA’s announcement that it is providing $9.5 million for an independent and external assessment to determine the total abundance of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the fiscal year 2016 CJS Appropriations bill, Senator Shelby included both funding and guidance for an assessment of red snapper Gulf-wide. This evaluation includes an examination of the population of red snapper on reefs and the new technologies available to more accurately count the fish. Results from this independent study will be compared to NOAA’s internal estimates and will be used in future Gulf fisheries management decisions.
“Today’s announcement by NOAA is a critical step towards much-needed reform to the way fish are counted in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Senator Shelby. “These efforts will help ensure that NOAA counts red snapper where they actually live – on reefs.”
“I’m pleased that this assessment will provide an independent check on NOAA’s internal counts for red snapper in the Gulf, which is long overdue,” added Shelby. “My goal has always been, and will continue to be, to get our Gulf fishermen more days out on the water.”