The Shareholders' Alliance is the largest organization of commercial grouper, snapper, and reef fish fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. We work hard to ensure that our fisheries are sustainably managed so our fishing businesses can thrive, and our fishing communities can exist for future generations. We are the harvesters that provide the American public with a reliable source of domestically-caught wild Gulf seafood, and we do this through a philosophy that sustainable seafood and profitable fishing businesses depend on healthy fish populations.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) is the backbone of fisheries management in the United States. First passed in 1976 and reauthorized in 1996 and 2006, this landmark piece of legislation established the framework under which federal fisheries are managed. Thanks to fishermen's input, the reliance on science and a ground-up approach through the Regional Fishery Management Councils, the MSA has led to dozens of fish stocks being rebuilt over the last 40 years and fisheries becoming more profitable. The Shareholders' Alliance supports MSA and science-based fishery management.
For the last decade, the Shareholders' Alliance has been battling against the reallocation (taking) of commercial fishing quota away from commercial fishermen and the seafood-consuming public we serve. Solutions that provide more access to private anglers and provide them the accountability they deserve should not come at the expense of hard-working fishermen or the American seafood consumer.
Over the last 10+, we have been a leader in piloting electronic monitoring (EM) in the Gulf of Mexico with Mote Marine Lab. We believe that commercial fishermen should have the opportunity to use cameras, instead of human data collectors, if they choose. As technology advances, it is important to incorporate new ways of collecting data electronically into fisheries science. Better data means better management, which is good for business and good for the resource.
Charter-for-hire fishermen across the Gulf have been advocating for better accountability and alternative management strategies that will ensure the sustainability of Gulf fisheries and the future of their charter businesses. The Shareholders' Alliance has supported the charter-for-hire reform through our partnership with Charter Fisherman's Association (CFA)
The two Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) programs in the Gulf of Mexico (Red Snapper and Grouper/Tilefish) were developed by the fishing industry in response to unsafe derby working conditions and depressed dockside prices for their fish. Since the implementation of these programs, fishermen are getting paid more for these fish, casualties at sea have gone down, and fishermen have been able to build stronger and more resilient business plans.
Commercial fishing has been woven into the fabric of coastal communities in the Gulf of Mexico and across the country. But recently, there is a shortage of hard working, skilled, young men and women to take over businesses built by the current generation of commercial fishermen. The high-risk nature of commercial fishing, the need for large upfront investment, the complexity of regulations, and the diverse skill set needed can make starting a career in commercial fishing daunting. Since 2016, the Shareholders' Alliance has advocated and supported funding for training the next generation of commercial fishermen.
The Gulf of Mexico is garnering increasing attention from new and bourgeoning industries, including aquaculture and offshore wind. These industries may have the potential to impact commercial fisheries, like reef fish and shrimp, by potentially closing or restricting historic fishing grounds. The Shareholders' Alliance has taken an active role in communicating with NOAA Fisheries and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to communicate the importance of our industries co-existing without adversely impacting one another.
More Information on Aquaculture Opportunity Areas
Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' Alliance
1902 Wharf Road Galveston, TX 77550 US
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Promoting Gulf of Mexico sustainable fisheries