Back room deal on red snapper is bad for fishing and fishery recovery

Statement from Charter Fisherman’s Association and Environmental Defense Fund

June 14, 2017
Matt Smelser, (202) 572-3272,

(Austin, Texas – June 14, 2017) It is clear that recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico need a new system to manage the way they access fishing. Despite recovering red snapper populations and a dramatic increase in the allowable catch for recreational fishing, from 3.19 million pounds in 2007 to 7.19 million pounds in 2016, long state water seasons and a broken angler management system have choked the federal private angler season down to just three days. We know there has to be a better way and anglers deserve a new approach. But that must be founded in sound science and operate within the law.

With serious concerns for the long-term economic and ecological health of the red snapper fishery, the Charter Fisherman’s Association and the Environmental Defense Fund sent a letter to the Department of Commerce in an effort to understand how it intends to prevent overfishing given this extension of the federal season.

“The current system is failing private anglers and they deserve a fix. It has to be done in a way that gives them more flexible access while still adhering to science-based catch limits - like we have done in the charter for-hire component. However, the best information we have on this 39 day reopening shows it could lead to more than 7 million pounds of overfishing, which will almost certainly shut down our fishing businesses next year, lead to less fishing access for our customers and damage the work we have done to rebuild this population of fish.” 

  • Mike Jennings, President, Charter Fisherman’s Association

“Our current calculation shows that the proposed 39 day season will lead to overfishing of the red snapper resource which will mean setbacks for rebuilding of the fishery, fewer days of fishing for commercial, for-hire and private anglers next year and a dangerous precedent for the way our nation manages this shared public resource.”

  • Robert E. Jones, Gulf of Mexico Director, Environmental Defense Fund Ocean’s Program 

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