Apr 06 2018

Shelby: Alabama’s State-led Pilot Program Approved, Ready for Implementation

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today released the following statement after the state-led fishery management pilot program for red snapper in Alabama was approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and will soon be signed by the state’s director of Marine Resources, officially allowing the program’s enactment ahead of the 2018 summer fishing season.

Alabama’s permit was approved as part of a larger group of state programs, including all five Gulf states. Each of the state-led fishery management pilots were established through Senator Shelby’s work on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“This announcement is excellent news for the recreational fisherman in Alabama. After authoring the provision allowing NOAA to approve the pilot programs, our Gulf states will take the lead in managing recreational fishing of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. I am confident that Alabama’s state-led pilot program will provide our recreational fisherman with much-needed, long-overdue relief and result in more days on the water,” said Senator Shelby.

Senator Shelby authored language in the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill that directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service to develop the fishery management pilot program allowing states to direct reef fish management activities.

The state-led pilot programs will be implemented in designated zones off the coast of each respective state bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Following the Gulf Council’s approval in January at a meeting in New Orleans, NOAA was required to publish the plans and allow for a 30 day comment period. NOAA has now ratified each plan, allowing implementation to begin after the individual states signal approval.