U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a letter to Dr. Roy Crabtree, Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Dr. Crabtree is the federal representative on the Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishing Management Council (RFMC), which is expected to vote this week on Amendment 40, which would divide the recreational red snapper sector. Earlier this week in a committee hearing, Dr. Crabtree voted in support of the proposal, despite strong opposition from the Governors, the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and majority of Gulf stakeholders who have weighed-in on this issue.

"Dr. Crabtree's decision to vote against clear desire of the Gulf State Governors, against the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and against the vast majority of Gulf anglers is really concerning," said Vitter. "It certainly appears as though his position is one clearly aligned with special interest groups based in New York, even though he is responsible to be the federal guide for Gulf stakeholder interests and resolving the many challenges facing the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico."

In the letter, Vitter urges Dr. Crabtree and the Gulf Council to complete an economic analysis of the amendment before the council creates an entirely new sector to share the fisheries. Vitter also requests information regarding Dr. Crabtree's involvement in a recent grant awarded to the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to support work on the amendment.

Yesterday, Vitter stated his concerns regarding NOAA's failure of leadership during this week's council meeting. Click here to read more.

Click here to read Vitter's letter.