Anglers have last chance to comment on much-delayed Council decision
If you blinked, you may have missed the recreational red snapper season in the Gulf this year. Set at just 10 days, the 2015 season contained exactly one full weekend for Gulf Coast families who may have wanted to catch a red snapper. With the fishery healthier than it has ever been, a federally ordained 10-day season is indefensible.
The problems with federal management of red snapper are too numerous to mention, but one simple thing that the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council could do at its next meeting in August is set the recreational allocation of red snapper accurately. The current allocation of the red snapper fishery between commercial and recreational sectors was set in 1991, using bad data from the early 1980s. Among the options available to the Council to fix this situation is Alternative #9, which would result in a significant shift to the private recreational sector just by partially fixing past errors and inaccuracies in the feds’ own data.
Recreational anglers have seen their access to the red snapper fishery steadily taken away in recent years and that is due in large part to the fact that the allocation was never set correctly in the first place. Alternative #9 is the Gulf Council’s chance to begin to fix 30 years’ worth of mistakes.
The red snapper reallocation process has dragged on for years, stalled and opposed by groups who like the status quo and prefer to restrict angler access to the red snapper fishery by any means. Throughout this process, CCA has asked its members to make their voices heard many times and you have come through again and again. This leg of the process concludes in August with a final vote and the opportunity to finally set the red snapper allocation correctly will not come around again any time soon.
Please take a few minutes today to visit this LINK (also pasted below) and ask the Gulf Council to approve Alternative #9 of Amendment 28. Ask your friends to do the same. It’s that important. We’ve been told that form letters and cut-and-paste comments “don’t count” so it is critical to make your opinion known in your own words. The comment period closes on July 20.
There are many things that need to be fixed in order for recreational anglers to have the kind of access to red snapper that they deserve, but setting the allocation correctly is a huge first step. Thank you.
Comment here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0146.