Today, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Ranking Republican on the Committee on Appropriations, joined U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) along with senators from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina in sending a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office requesting a review of how the Department of Commerce conducts stock assessments in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The stock assessments conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service are critical in maintaining the vitality of the fisheries, the fishing communities, and related industries in Florida and the region.
Senator Shelby made the following statement in regard to the contents of the letter:
"I have heard from many members of the Alabama Gulf Coast community who are growing increasingly concerned with the quality and accuracy of fisheries stock assessments in the Gulf region. Stock assessments are an essential component of any regional fisheries management plan, and these assessments must reflect an accurate evaluation of the population. I am pleased to join my Gulf State colleagues in asking GAO to examine the accuracy of this process and look forward to examining its findings."