TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who chairs the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, called Monday for the U.S. Department of Commerce to review the decision to close the South Atlantic to red snapper fishing for a second consecutive year.
"The economic benefit to my home state of Florida, along with other states that fall under the South Atlantic, cannot be overstated," wrote Rubio, a candidate for re-election, in a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Acting Inspector General David Smith. "The commercial sector is tasked with ensuring Americans across the country are able to purchase this species, while creating much needed harvesting, processing, distribution and retail jobs. Both small and large businesses along the coast, and throughout the country, benefit from this valuable fishery."
In announcing the commercial and recreational ban would remain in place on May 19, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said the number of red snapper removed from the population in 2015 -- despite the closure that year -- exceeded the mark set for the South Atlantic waters.
The federal agency had placed an acceptable number of red snapper removed from the population in 2015 at 114,000, but an estimated 276,729 were removed, according to the May 19 release.