Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, announced that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has agreed to his demands to ensure appropriate allocation guidance is developed and the Gulf of Mexico red snapper issues are actually voted upon. Today, NOAA responded to Vitter's letter from last week in which he voiced concerns with the Agency's prolonged delay in implementing their fisheries management policies. In his letter, Vitter asked that these issues be addressed before the Senate takes up the nomination of Dr. Kathryn Sullivan to be Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA.

"NOAA plays an important role in the lives and economies of fishermen and businesses in the Gulf of Mexico, and I believe their new leadership better understands the importance of regularly updating allocation quotas for fish in the Gulf," said Vitter. "I look forward to supporting Dr. Kathryn Sullivan's nomination and working with her to continue improving the management of our nation's fisheries, and I think the agency's extremely prompt response to addressing problems is a great sign of the new management."

In response to Vitter's letter last week regarding Sullivan's nomination, NOAA has agreed to:

• Engage all regional Fishery Management Councils, with the goal of developing guidance documents for the periodic review of allocation quotas to be included in the National Guidelines.
• Increase its leadership role on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council), including supporting the addition of Amendment 28, a proposal of six options for updating allocations levels of allowable catch of red snapper beyond the historical high level of 9.12 million pounds, to the Gulf Council's February agenda.

Earlier this year, Vitter introduced the Offshore Fairness Act, which would extend the offshore jurisdiction for fishery management for states from Louisiana to Virginia. Vitter's bill would put the states in charge of red snapper management until each state's governor certifies that NOAA's stock assessments are complete and based on sound science. Click here to read more.

Click here to read Dr. Sullivan's response to Sen. Vitter.

Click here to read the response from Dr. Roy Crabtree, Regional Administrator of the NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, to Douglass Boyd, Chair of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Click here to read the response from Samuel Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, to Dorothy Lowman, Chair of the Council Coordination Committee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council.