MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Congressman Jo Bonner demands Interior Secretary Salazar immediately halt federal policy destroying large numbers of gulf red snapper.
In a Local 15 investigation, we uncovered video, secretly taken aboard one of the vessels contracted to blow-up old gas wells in the gulf, killing millions of pounds of fish.
Marine scientist Dr. Bob Shipp says this is happening so often, a million and a half pounds of dead snapper is floating to the surface each year.
Now Congressman Bonner fired off a letter to Salazar demanding change.
In the letter Bonner says, "In an undercover video released today from a rig explosion in the northern gulf, we finally have visual evidence of the devastation caused by this directive."
He goes on to say, “At the same time one federal agency is restricting fishing for the preeminent target fish species in the gulf, another – yours – is literally killing thousands of pounds of fish and destroying the habitat on which they rely. Certainly, Mr. Secretary, you see the hypocrisy here. These fish are the economic life-blood for thousands of our constituents along the Gulf of Mexico, and this insanity must stop – immediately.”
The letter was also signed by Mississippi Gulf Coast Representative Steven Palazzo.
Friday, the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council voted to reduce the 2013 season from 40 days to just 27.
Anglers and charter boat captains were upset about last year's season only being 40 days. Now fishermen have less than a month to capitalize on one of the gulf's biggest assets.
Local 15's Greg Peterson sat down with members of the Coastal Conservation Association. Between the video we showed them and Friday's ruling, it was not a good day for fishermen.
Hunters and fishermen have a 1.9 billion dollar economic impact on the state of Alabama, a bigger impact than revenue from all crops in the state.
But with yet another reduction in the snapper season, that impact will shrink.
You can find Rep. Bonner's letter
attached to this story.