Giving a Seat at the Table to All the Gulf’s Various Organizations
The mission of the Gulf Seafood Institute is to protect the Gulf’s unique culture and environment while elevating the Gulf seafood brand with consumers, customers and policy leaders through advocacy, education and science.
The Institute’s board of directors represents every Gulf state as well as every aspect of the industry – both commercial and recreational – and is positioned to be a leading voice on key issues including sustainability, seafood safety, disaster mitigation and recovery, and data collection. The organization seeks to bolster fisheries science and research that will help preserve the Gulf seafood resource and contribute to the longevity of the industry overall.
GSI Action Items
Gulf Seafood Safety: Consumer research indicates there is a continued need for the federal government to communicate with consumers about the safety and wholesomeness of Gulf seafood products.
H-2B Visas: Recent federal actions threaten the viability of the H-2B visa program. We must preserve the H-2B visa program for seafood businesses that utilize temporary foreign workers to fill the most labor-intensive positions in the industry.
Stock Assessments: NOAA must place more emphasis on conducting more frequent and robust, peer-reviewed fisheries stock assessments in the Gulf of Mexico.
Disaster Mitigation & Recovery: Maintain close relationships with key decision makers at the federal level so that a comprehensive relief response is immediate following any future fisheries disasters.
GSI Priorities for Magnuson Stevens
Flexibility in Rebuilding Timelines:
Timelines for rebuilding fisheries must be relaxed to enhance flexibility for fishery managers.
Annual Catch Limits:
The process for establishing ACLs should be revised to increase flexibility, particularly in cases where a fish stock lacks enough data to make sound management decisions.
New Funding Sources:
Monies collected from marine enforcement actions and permitting fees should stay within the region in which they were collected and not be transmitted to the general fund.
Role of Science and Statistical Committees:
In today’s fast-moving world, we should be able to react swiftly by calling SSC and other Council meetings in a more timely manner. The current 28-day notice period for meetings should be more flexible to help address very time-sensitive matters quickly and efficiently. .
Regional Council Accountability:
Strict accountability measures should be established for the Councils and their actions.