At a town meeting in Destin, Florida U.S. Representative, Steve Southerland discussed his disdain for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“I’m very disappointed with the job they are currently doing,” he said.
Southerland said he has become acutely aware of the plight of Gulf Coast fishermen in his two years in Congress, and believes they are being pushed out of business by legislation, specifically the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
He said he’s frustrated that NOAA puts annual catch limits “on about 500 species when they’ve got data on about 50.”
“They’re putting catch limits on species we don’t have any information on,” Southerland said.
Asked whether NOAA might try to get data on more fish species with enough funding, Southerland responded, “I’m not sure they want to do that. They took funding they had and reallocated it to put up a $700 billion weather satellite.”
He said his priorities as a member of the House Natural Resource Committee differ from the leadership at NOAA.
“When (Fisheries Service Southeast Regional) Director (Roy) Crabtree says it’s going to take until 2032 to rebuild the red snapper fisheries, and we can’t even get our bait to the bottom, it tells me there’s someone out there that can’t fish,” Southerland said.
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