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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well looks like what was posted here last week was too good to be true based on this article:reallycrying

Federal regulators approved a plan this week that may result in the shortest red snapper fishing season in Gulf of Mexico history.

During its meeting in Mobile this week, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted to increase the total allowable catch of red snapper in 2010. But despite the increase, regulators said they may need to shorten the 2010 recreational red snapper season by weeks to prevent overfishing.

A red snapper season between 51 and 60 days was proposed, which would be the shortest ever in the Gulf.

Tuesday, the Reef Fish Management Committee voted on the new rules, which were approved by a full Gulf Council vote on Thursday. The new rules will go to the National Marine Fisheries Service for final approval. The final decision will come sometime in May, to give regulators time to analyze 2009 fisheries data, officials said.

Federal regulators have been tightening fishing regulations for several years to ease pressure on what they say are depleted red snapper populations in the Gulf.

Preliminary data from 2009 showed promising signs that snapper populations were recovering, but the announcement of a shortened season has come as a blow to hopeful anglers and charter operators.

"Every time it appears that there's going to be some light at the end of the tunnel, it's taken away just like this," said Pam Anderson, operations manager at Capt. Anderson Marina in Panama City Beach.

Big hit to industry

Capt. Jim Stone, owner of AquaVenture Charters in Perdido, said shortened seasons are making hard times for charter fishermen.

"Every day that they take is another day that my boat will be sitting at the dock," Stone said. "With insurance, slip rents, cost of licenses, cost of fuel "» it's getting to be a losing proposition quicker and quicker."

"I expect that if they shorten the season by 10 days, it will take 10 percent of my annual income off," Stone said.

The 5 million pound total allowable catch in 2009 was the lowest ever set by federal regulators. To keep recreational fishermen within their quota, the recreational red snapper season in federal waters was shortened from more than six months in 2007, to about two and a half months in 2009.

Despite the shortened season, recreational fishermen still overran their red snapper quota by 1.7 million pounds in 2009, regulators said.

Steve Bortone, executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, said regulators will monitor fishing catches this year and may make the final decision on a closing date as the season progresses.

The council's decision, if approved, is binding only to anglers who fish in federal waters, which generally begin about nine miles off the coast.

State agencies have the authority to set season lengths in coastal waters, but last year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission shortened the state's season to match the federal season length.

Lee Schlesinger, spokesman for the FWC, said that if states don't fall in line with federal regulations, regulators may further slash season lengths and quotas in federal waters to compensate.

"We can act unilaterally if we want to, but most of those grouper and red snapper are farther offshore," Schlesinger said. "The impact can be even more severe to the fishermen that fish in federal waters if the ... Gulf states don't go along with these federal acts."

The FWC will discuss red snapper at its Feb. 18 meeting in Apalachicola, and likely will delay any decisions until after federal regulators make a final ruling, Schlesinger said.

"When they make their decision, we'll decide whether or not we'll go along with it," Schlesinger said.

Good news?

Bortone said despite the potential for a shortened season, the increased total allowable catch is the result of recovering red snapper populations.

"It means the fishery is getting healthier," Bortone said. "But it still needs to be managed so it doesn't get overfished."

Bortone said the average size of red snapper caught in the Gulf is increasing, which may contribute to the shortened season.

"Because the fish are bigger now, probably that 6.9 million pounds is going to be caught faster this year," Bortone said.

A number of Pensacola-area fishermen drove to Mobile to attend the conference and make statements to the council during public comment sessions.

Earle Rader, 71, a board member with the Pensacola Recreational Fisherman's Association, traveled to Mobile for the meeting with 10 other association members.

Rader said members of the group asked the council to increase the allowable catch and extend the season, and they felt the decision was one step forward and one step back.

"It's kind of sad, particularly when you're a lifelong recreational fisherman like I am. Now I see it just kind of going away, where we can go fishing anymore," Rader said.

Additional Facts Snapper rules

Existing and proposed Gulf of Mexico red snapper regulations:

-- 2009 total allowable catch: 5 million pounds.

-- 2010 proposed: 6.945 million pounds.

-- 2009 recreational red snapper season: June 1 to Aug. 15, 75 days.

-- 2010 proposed: June 1 opening, possible closure after 51 to 60 days.

391 Posts
the Fed is out of control... :banghead forget Crabtree.. :shedevil It's our STATE waters !!!! It's our local economy !!! Texas has a 4 snapper limit & does not have the tourism economy Florida has !!! we know red snapper are overpopulating... we need at least a 6 month 18" 2 fish limit on snapper in STATE waters.... forget the Fed contact your State Reps.. :hoppingmad

2,033 Posts
I plan to hand a pink slip to as many politicians as I can come next election. This is absolute garbage. A fine example of profligate disregard for the truth.:nonono

394 Posts
so we will have 8 weeks of snapper season. for most regular fishermen than can fish weekends, holidays, and the occasional hookey day thats probably 10-15 trips. figure 3-4 get cancelled due to weather. so we're down to 8 or so. this is bullshit.
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