ELEVEN DAY RED SNAPPER SEASON
“Today the Reef Fish Committee voted for an 11 day season.”
That’s what Dr. Bob Shipp on the Gulf Fishery Council told FOX10 News Tuesday, April 8. This year’s devastating recommendation of an 11 day red snapper season was forced by a lawsuit. Commercial fisherman successfully sued recreational fishermen for going over quotas in six of the past seven years. Dr. Shipp said the irony is that a healthy fishery created this situation.
“The fishery is so healthy, the fish are so big, so we just blow right through the quota every year and the situation is getting worse and worse,” Dr. Shipp said. “Eventually, if not already, we’ll reach a tipping point.”
CAPTAINS SPEAK OUT
Charter Captain Joe Nash told us if the red snapper season is shortened that much, it just isn’t viable. He’s been booking trips for what he hoped would be a forty day season.
“What are we going to tell these people? They don’t understand federal regulations and how everything works,” Nash exclaimed. “I have to tell them we can’t catch fish and we won’t have that particular trip and we’ll have to find a new customer and every customer costs money to find.”
Captain Bly saw the writing on the wall several years ago and switched over to inshore fishing, where he doesn’t have to rely on red snapper.
“We used to fish March, April, May, September, October, and through Thanksgiving every year twenty years ago and now they’re all just sitting here and there’s more fish than there’s ever been,” Bly stated.
NEARLY A DONE DEAL
The reef council’s eleven day recommendation will go before the full fishery council Thursday. But Dr. Shipp doesn’t expect any major changes.
“The committee recommendations are usually followed, if they’re changed they won’t be changed much,” Dr. Shipp told us.
Dr. Shipp says fixing what he calls a broken system will literally take an act of congress.
“It’s going to take congress to reword the law to create some flexibility in the system and manage it some other way,” Dr. Shipp explained.
Once again, the final recommendation will be voted on Thursday. We’ll let you know how that turns out.
If you would like to watch the Gulf Fishery Council Meeting, click here.