U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding the annual meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishing Management Council (RFMC) where they are debating the future of red snapper allocations. This week the Gulf Council is considering Amendment 40, which would divide the recreational red snapper sector.

"The Gulf Council should begin listening to anglers across the Gulf region. A vote in favor of sector separation would have dire consequences for local, recreational fishermen and the associated businesses," said Vitter. "I have grave concerns that the failure of leadership from NOAA's representative in the Gulf has reached a breaking point, and that they're siding with the special interests groups based in New York, instead of what's best for the public."

During this week's quarterly meeting, the Gulf RFMC is expected to vote on an amendment that would put 75% of the red snapper fishery off limits to public access, and has virtually no public support. Yesterday NOAA's Regional Administrator voted in support of the amendment, despite opposition from the Governors, the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and majority of Gulf fishermen who have weighed-in on this issue. In August, Vitter urged the Gulf Council to table the proposal. Click here to read more.

Vitter has been investigating the collusion between environmental activists, lawyers and lobbyists, billionaires and their supporting foundations who use large sums of money to influence environmental public policy. In September, Vitter examined the current environmental collusion attempts to end public access to fisheries in Gulf of Mexico. Click here to read more.

In June, Vitter wrote an op-ed in the Houma Courier, "Protecting red snapper fishing," which discussed fairly managing fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and protecting the rights of recreational anglers - particularly with access to the red snapper fishery. Click here to read the op-ed.