Barotraumatized mutton snapper

Barotraumatized sheep snapper
Clearly barotraumatized fish like this sheep catcher (note reverse stomach sticking out of mouth) can live to be caught another day if anglers send them down again with a descending unit – which will be required in the Gulf of Mexico by law if The DESCEND Act becomes federal law.
Jason Stemple

Today, the recreational fishing and boating community praised the Senate’s introduction of the 2019 DESCEND Act by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) And Doug Jones (D-Ala.). Also known as the “Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through the Novel Devices Act of 2019”, the DESCEND Act would require commercial and recreational fishermen to possess a descent device rigged and ready for use or venting tools when fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico’s federal waters.

A companion bill, HR 5126, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 15 by Congressmen Garret Graves (R-La.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.). For details on the DESCEND Act, please refer to the announcement of the recreational fishing and sailing coalition on HR 5126, Bipartisan efforts drop a lifeline for fish rolled up from the depths.

“We thank Senators Jones and Cassidy for addressing the serious issue of fish release mortality in Gulf Reefs,” said Blakeley Ellis, CEO of Coastal Conservation Association Alabama. “Widespread use of downward devices will serve as yet another tool for fisheries managers and the fishing community to tackle this widespread problem and begin eliminating unnecessary waste as much as possible.”

“We welcome Senators Cassidy and Jones for continuing the legacy of bipartisanship in deep-sea fisheries policy,” said Jeff Angers, president of Center for Sport Fisheries Policy. “Despite the all-too-common political noise, real work is being done on Capitol Hill, and we appreciate members of Congress from the Gulf Coast focusing on the economic and cultural significance of America’s reef fish and the future of recreational fishing.”

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