Longer red snapper fishing seasons on horizon
with help from problem-solving charter fishermen
Contact: Gary Jarvis, Charter Fisherman’s Association, firstname.lastname@example.org, PHONE 850-259-5482
Innovative proposals are moving through the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council process for better managing heavily targeted Gulf red snapper caught aboard charter and head boats by anglers. Such programs could produce longer fishing seasons, more fishing time for anglers, better business opportunities, and sustainable fishing practices.
Current fishing rules hurt anglers and fishing businesses by severely limiting fishing with short seasons, while promoting wasteful discarding of perfectly good fish because of size limitations. . Moreover, the rules also fail to manage the fishery effectively, the recreational limit of red snapper has been greatly exceeded for most of the last 20 years.
“Our businesses make a huge contribution to coastal economies, but they’re being hung out to dry with these bad fishing rules,” said Johnny Williams, a head boat owner in Galveston, Texas and Charter Fisherman’s Association member.
The Council’s Limited Access Privilege Program Advisory Panel is currently working on two innovative, voluntary pilot management projects: a “days at sea” program for charter boats and an individual fishing quota program for head boats.
“The Council deserves praise for attempting to tackle this recreational fishing management problem in new ways,” said Gary Jarvis, charter boat owner in Destin, Florida and Charter Fisherman’s Association President. “These voluntary pilot projects are critical to show us if alternative management can work.”
Members of the Charter Fisherman’s Association and other fishing and conservation groups are working towards long-term solutions to increase fishing time, improve businesses, and ensure a sustainable fishery. Other industry groups criticize this progress and advocate doing nothing, or worse: “Quick-fixes” that lack any conservation considerations in order to avoid responsibility.
The Council has created several ways for recreational fishing groups and others to advocate for new management options for the red snapper and other valuable fisheries. The Charter Fisherman’s Association is also working to collaborate with other solutions-driven fishing organizations. Contact the Association at www.charterfisherman.org or get involved at www.gulfcouncil.org.