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The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance Wins Second-Place Gulf Guardian Award

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Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (

DALLAS – (Nov. 30, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance won a second-place 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Civic/Non-Profit Category. The alliance is recognized for developing methods to reduce wasteful discarding of red snapper in the Gulf.

Ben Scaggs, Director of Gulf of Mexico Program said, “Whether for individual recreational use or as an economic engine supporting a wide variety of jobs and industry, the Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant yet vulnerable ecosystem. Protecting this national resource requires innovative approaches and proactive measures. The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.” 

The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance launched the Quota Bank in 2015 in response to growing concerns about wasteful discarding of red snapper in the Gulf’s grouper fishery and transitioning this successful fishery into the hands of the next generation of fishermen. The Quota Bank is an organization of forward-thinking fishermen coming together to help solve the problem of red snapper discards in the grouper fishery and assist the next generation of fishermen become established. It is the first fishermen-run community quota program in the Gulf of Mexico. In less than two years, the Quota Bank has worked with 20 fishermen in 15 fishing communities to salvage over 50,000 pounds of red snapper from being wastefully discarded, generated over $150,000 in revenue for these businesses and assisted two young commercial fishermen to help them build stronger business plans.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts. This year’s ceremony will be held on November 30, 2017, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama. 

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

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