Gulf Council Decision Praised by Fishermen and Environmental Group

August 19, 2008

Vishwanie Maharaj, Environmental Defense Fund, 512.496.3646-c
Glen Brooks, Gulf Fisherman’s Association, 941.920.7302-c
Media Contact:
Laura Williamson, Environmental Defense Fund, 512.691.3447-w or
512.828.1690-c or
(Austin, TX – August 19, 2008) The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (Council) recently approved a new management program for commercially caught grouper and tilefish by a vote of 13 to three. Pending further action by the federal government and a vote of approval by commercial fishermen this fall, the individual fishing quota (IFQ) program is expected to be in place for the 2010 commercial fishing season. The concept of managing fisheries through IFQs is gaining momentum in the Gulf as a means of ensuring a viable future for the commercial fishing industry and coastal communities. An IFQ program for red snapper was implemented in 2007 and has already shown positive results for the fishing industry, local economies and the ecosystem.
The following statement can be attributed to Vishwanie Maharaj, Fisheries Economist for the Texas Office of Environmental Defense Fund, and a member of the Grouper IFQ Advisory Panel for the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council:
“We are pleased with the Council’s approval of the Grouper IFQ program. If implemented, it will provide needed changes for the grouper fishing industry by ensuring sustainable fishing practices and a return to profitability. It’s a win-win solution for fishermen, regulators, and the environment.”
The following statement can be attributed to Glen Brooks, grouper fisherman and President of the Gulf Fishermen’s Association, which represents over 200 members throughout the Gulf, including commercial fishermen, restaurants and the public: 
“After two years of hard work on this program by fishermen and many other interests, we feel that this program captures the needs of fishermen, while accomplishing the Council’s goals to protect the fishery. The Council made the right decision in moving this program forward so that fishermen can have their vote. We believe it will receive overwhelming support in commercial fishing communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico.”