Fishermen across the panhandle are breathing a sigh of relief. The US House of Representatives endorsed a ban on new fishing limits on an array of fish; among the list are red snapper and grouper.
"I think people are realizing that they have a voice, which is great because they do. If they are fisherman from Montana and they want to fish on any of our coastal waters, they are a stake holder." Pam Anderson says.
Last week, the US House of Representatives barred government agencies from further restricting fishing catches along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts for at least a year. This program does not eliminate current programs in existence.
This bill puts limits on the money awarded to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA can no longer develop, approve or implement new catch share programs.
Catch share programs basically put a limit on the number of fish a boat can harvest. Fisherman say there's disconnect between the 8 regional councils that "represent them" and control the catch limits across the country.
"If you take the elevator in rebuilding a fishery, a lot of people are going to get hurt, which is what's happening now. If you take the stairs, we'll be able to stay at work and those fisheries will rebuild." Anderson says.
"These are the people's resources. The individual American citizens own these fish, not the federal government." Representative Steve Southerland, the bill's co-sponsor says it's now up to the Senate to review the House's version. The Senate is expected to look at the bill in the next few weeks.