On Saturday, August 25th, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight field hearing in Panama City entitled, “Fishing=Jobs: How Strengthening America’s Fisheries Strengthens Our Economy.”
The hearing will be held at the Lecture Hall at the Holley Academic Center located on the Florida State University – Panama City campus. The Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings and Rep. Steve Southerland along with other members will be in attendance.
The health of the Gulf of Mexico and its fishery resources affect the entire economy of Florida. Florida’s fisheries create and support thousands of jobs throughout the State and contribute to local businesses through hotel, restaurant, and bait store expenditures from out-of-state anglers.
A U.S. Census Bureau report found that 2.8 million residents and non-resident anglers contributed $4.3 billion to Florida’s economy in fishing–related expenditures in 2006. Commercial fishing also plays a large role in sustaining Florida’s economy. The economic impact of the commercial fishing industry was an additional $5.6 billion in 2008, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Committee has identified a number of challenges and impediments to fully utilizing the fishery resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The field hearing will give
members an opportunity to get a more detailed view of these challenges by examining: whether outdated scientific information available to fishery managers is limiting harvest levels; whether governmental restrictions on the harvest of fishery resources are necessary; and to what extent governmental programs - including catch shares, annual catch limits, and the National Ocean Policy - will affect how fisheries are harvested in the future.