Recommendation to implement different regulations on Red Snapper fishing.
Many people like myself, look forward each year to the overly exciting fishing season to catch the beloved snapper. Season dates along with size and possession limits are nothing new to the fisherman; but when a council decides to shrink a fishing season that is normally a month long down to a meager 9 days it can be heart breaking for many. Maintaining the support and sustainability of these fish is an extremely important task, that no one disagrees with, but when almost taking away the season, in its entirety, one can alter many people’s plans, hobbies, and ways of life. I plan to propose an alternant way to preserve and maintain the ecosystem of these fish while providing adequate and fair regulations for all.
The purpose of this report it to persuade the fisheries councils to address the current issues that stand with recreational snapper fishing. I will provide statistics and also analyzed data that I have gathered to conclude as to what the best option is to solve these problems.
The amount of anglers in the Gulf of Mexico rises every day with more wanting to catch snapper. For the length of my life there has been regulations to maintain these fish, while they did a great job to preserve life and keep the angler happy, the recent change as of 2014 does not. Many know that these certain fish can, mostly, be found in deeper waters near structure, such as reefs and oil platforms; and also many know that there are numerous organization and petitions to keep old, unused oilrigs standing in the gulf because of their ability to maintain and abundance of wildlife beneath. With more conservation to help these fish thrive why did the councils decide to shrink the season dates from a previous 30+ day season to a minute 9 days when there are other councils also participating to help the numbers of fish?
With this drastic change in regulation many anglers, who, in years previous, fished for these snapper, found that it was not worth the time and money it requires to go after them. (Boat Launch) With a limit of 2 per person per day, a 9-day season simply makes no sense. The council did warn the public that the season would be shorter this year, but no one expected it to be a number in the single digits!
The federal management of red snapper is based on the numbers coming out of the entirety of the Gulf of Mexico instead of by location, such as state waters. “Now that the federal red snapper season has been set at a ridiculously low nine days it reiterates the fallacy of the current federal management of this great fishery. This system cannot be tweaked or incrementally improved. It needs to be totally overhauled; the management of the recreational red snapper fishery needs to be transferred to the states where we can do quality stock assessments and set reasonable seasons commensurate with the biomass that is in the Gulf of Mexico’’, says Alabama Marine Resources Director Chris Blankenship. (Gulf)
When states want to take matters into their own hands without any federal management or help, the issue at hand has become quite serious. The councils responsible for negotiations and attributing propositions to the federal regulation of these fisheries must undertake a new stand and take responsibility in order to serve the public fairly and justly.
I believe a simple solution that will help this situation has been previously used for another species of fish. When speaking to Dr. L. Gleeson of the Coast Conservation Association he stated, “ When we passed the motion to decrease the minimum size of Speckled Trout it was because after years of increased conservation we noticed that the population of the species was up about 75%, so we felt that we could maintain good numbers while pleasing the fisherman with a smaller legal size.”(Red Snapper)
A simple maneuver that decreases the minimum legal size of the Red Snapper would do just as most want. It could keep the possession limit to 2 per person but allow more anglers to participate in the fishery by allowing the smaller snapper at the shallower oil rigs to be harvested instead of requiring anglers to spend the money and time that it takes to travel the extra nautical miles to the deeper rigs to find the larger, legal snapper.
The CCA had its reservations when lowering the minimum legal size for trout but after research of the species for 5 years now the evidences provides belief that the population has not decreased, and spawning has remaining at equal levels. Certainly, you may have questions and reservations as well, but with all of the excess help to regulate and maintain the red snapper fishery there should be no question that this is an effective way to balance the support and establish a new regulation strategy for the recent years to come.
I believe if this system were implemented soon we would see related results within the same time frame of a few years, if not shorter. Since there is no season dates for speckled trout, the off-season for red snapper would show normal spawning numbers with no decrease in population. This maneuver is focused mainly on maintaining fishery numbers while improving angler satisfaction and participation.
I have conducted personal interviews, researched numerous articles online, and created an online survey in order to support my methodology. My first step was talking to a few strangers at the boat launch who frequently fish for snapper. The questions I asked mainly focused on the topic at hand, more specifically if they agree with the shorter season.
While asking questions personally to peer anglers I found that 9/10 people did not fish for snapper this year because of the heavily regulated and shortened season. Most set out in hopes to catch snapper at least twice in a season, but with this 9 day season most couldn’t due to scheduling and time constraints. Many would also like to see an overhaul of the regulation entirely. (Boat Launch)
I then created an online survey that I dispersed via Facebook and had numerous random individuals answer the questions at hand regarding this issue. In order to be sure that my data wasn’t skewed or distorted I asked that only individuals who were licensed recreational anglers take my survey. Of the 20 that took my online survey more than 16 actually pursue snapper and of those individuals all of them disagree with the ruling of the federally regulated 9-day season. (Tompkins)
Also while searching for related articles online, I found numerous sites with multiple articles of disgust on the issue, multiple reports of upset anglers, and forums filled with questions asking “why”, the council made this act. (Gulf)
I would like to say that the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council does a great deal to protect our waters and all that swims in it. We, as fisherman, appreciate every effort that the council puts forth in order to maintain and regulate the hobbies and lifestyles that make us who we are! Although we understand certain procedures and acts, this one, in particular, does not seem to advance any goals set forth by the council and the communities that it represents. This proposal aims to reconsider that previous acts set towards the red snapper fishery, or to reconcile the change all together.
As I do understand that this will take time to make these amendments I am willing to do my part and donate whatever necessary to make actions towards this. Thank you for your consideration of my proposal. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via cell phone at
. “Red Snapper Season 2014.” SurveyMonkey.com. June 18, 2014 In Text: (Tompkins)
“Boat Launch”. Greenough, C. Watson, James. Thompson, Paul. Personal interview. June 21, 2014 In Text: (Boat Launch)
“Red Snapper”. Gleeson, Dr. L. Personal Interview. June 24,2014 In Text: (Red Snapper)
“Gulf Recreational Red snapper season reduced to 9 days.” AL.COM. Web. May 14, 2014. http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2014/05/gulf_recreational_red_snapper.html In Text: (Gulf)