By Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Audubon Nature Institute and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission are working together to try to ensure that Gulf of Mexico fisheries are managed well so fish and shellfish remain available for catching and eating.

Audubon said its program, called Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries or “G.U.L.F” for short, will work with the commission on “advancement plans” to go beyond minimum requirements and ensure long-term sustainability. Such plans can include potential research and regulations.

The commission represents fishery management interests in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida.

“Advancement plans are an important tool to keep Gulf seafood on the shelves of national retailers, who often ask for proof that the seafood they buy is sustainable, or involved with a project to help them become more sustainable,” the institute said in a news release.

It said such plans are considered an important part of the future of sustainability in fisheries throughout the world.

“I am very pleased to be working with Audubon Nature Institute and the other Gulf States on this vital project,” the news release quoted Chris Blankenship, director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division.

He said validation by an independent group is essential.

“The project will also shed light on areas in each of the states that can be improved to ensure the future viability of resources,” he said.

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