Doug Jones introduced bill to protect red snapper population in Gulf

Recreational and commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico may soon have to have on board their boats devices that could help ensure the population of reef fish remain healthy for generations to come, thanks to a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Ala.

Jones and cosponsor Sen. Bill Cassidey, R-La., introduced a bill that would require boats to carry on board venting tools and descending devices, which reduce barotrauma in reef fish, such as red snapper, a condition that kills fish when their brought to the surface rapidly from deep water. If a fish is too small, nor the correct species or over a fisherman’s limit, they release them back into the water, but without the use of these devices many of these fish die, unable to return to the deep water where they thrive.

The Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices (DESCEND) Act has a companion bill a companion bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Garrett Graves, R-La., and Jared Huffman, D-Calif.

“I’ve been fishing all my life, so I know how important it is to protect Gulf species like red snapper. The use of descending devices and venting tools is one way we can help maintain healthy populations of reef fish, which is crucial for the economy of Alabama and for ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy red snapper season,” Sen. Jones said in a press release.

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