Macaluso: Don’t let snapper flap ruin season

By now, most of you know about the nine-day red snapper season. Oh the drama of it all.

Yep, June 1 through June 9 is all you’re going to have to get into federal waters to catch your two allowed red snapper per day.

And even though Sen. Mary Landrieu is trying to help with legislation, The Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act of 2013, she’s going to need widespread support from more than the 10 U.S. senators from the five Gulf States to push her plan to remove federal management for a species that’s become the poster child for all that’s wrong in this federal scheme to manage our fisheries.

Landrieu wants to move red snapper management to the five Gulf States. It’s a plan proposed two years ago by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, but it hasn’t gone much farther through the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council than words.

And words are hardly a substitute for action.

If we’ve learned anything from the 20 years of what the federal folks believe is fishery management, it’s that federal jurisdiction over this, and any other mismanaged federal program, is difficult to reposition to any other plan that could possibly solve the problem.

Heck, how long has our state battled with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to arrive at what our folks consider to be workable plans in the Atchafalaya Basin and for coastal restoration.

In the case of fisheries, there are lots of folks who’ll lose their jobs in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service and on the Gulf Council if fishery management moves to the states.

You could only hope that any federal monies these three bureaucracies receive for fisheries management would be apportioned to the Gulf States with the management shift, and that some of the extant federal jobs would open up at the state level.

If Landrieu’s bill would pass, we don’t need two different governmental management levels, and certainly don’t need to spend months trying to rectify what certainly will be differences in federal and state data on snapper and other species. We already have that and look where we are today, not just with red snapper, but with many other species.

Today, as we stand on the doorstep of what usually is a rich saltwater fishing summer, maybe all we should know is that nothing is going to change 2014’s nine-day red snapper season, and that we should get ready to enjoy all that Louisiana’s extraordinary coastal and offshore waters afford us.

The Italian-American Fishing Rodeo kicked off this weekend.

Ahead is Friday’s opening date for the Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo, and the S.T.A.R. begins its 20th year of summer-long fishing competition. And those are just the beginning.

Bon chance, mes amis.