U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II joined colleague Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL) in introducing legislation to extend state water boundaries for Florida and the Gulf Coast region, providing exclusive management of reef fish to Gulf States struggling with shrinking access to an already restricted fishery.
"With a two-fish-per-day limit and a red snapper season set at 27 days and shrinking, Florida's fishermen face unacceptably severe challenges that are forcing them off the water," Southerland said. "Our legislation -- the Gulf Fisheries Fairness Act -- casts a life preserver to fishermen and coastal economies struggling to stay afloat amid crippling federal regulations that fail to reflect the successes of a fishery built upon the sacrifices of the Gulf's commercial and recreational fishermen. Our legislation stands tall on the 10th Amendment, fighting back against the ever-tightening grip of Washington overregulation."
The Gulf Fisheries Fairness Act resets state water boundaries for reef fish management in the Gulf to a depth of 20 fathoms (120 feet) or nine nautical miles, which could reach offshore as many as 60 miles. Florida's current boundary is set at nine miles.