There’s a new record in the fishing world – but this is not an advantage; nor is it a bragging rights moment that makes individuals delighted in a high-five sort of way.
This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gets no such love from private recreational anglers– the folks who may be getting hooked by the shortest ever federal red snapper season, which ranges from– don’t blink– June 1 through June 3.
Three days. Really? That’s simply seventy-two hours. Or 4,320 minutes.
To frame this, the overall recreational fishing sector consists of private individuals and for-hire vessels (charter boats). The latter group gets a 49-day season (June 1 through July 19). The commercial sector– an extremely contentious topic we’ll save for later– operates on “catch shares”; essentially, the privatization of a public resource.
Most who fish the Gulf– and actually see what’s out there– think there’s ample snapper to validate longer leisure seasons. Significantly tighter harvest constraints of shorter seasons and the two-fish per individual daily bag limitation (minimum 16 inches) have, no doubt, relieved the pressure given that the types was declared over-fished in the late 1980’s. However, the feds specify that 2016 saw the total leisure quota gone beyond by 129,906 pounds, with the private angling part exceeding its 57.7 percent share of the leisure pie.
Adjusting for these 2016 overages lead to the shortened personal recreational season. Notably, longer red snapper seasons (67-365 days) within the Gulf borders, which extend out 9 nautical miles from land and catches in state and federal waters are counted against the overall recreational fishing quota.
In accordance with NOAA, private anglers are expected to gather almost 81 percent of the private angling quota during these state seasons. With the federal management of Gulf red snapper bogged down in claims of flawed data collection and doubtful science, public outrage is nothing new.
Many leisure anglers believe that individual states can do a better task of handling red snapper in federal waters out to 200 nautical miles. That image stays unsure, but citizens can voice their opinions regarding the present state of management through an automatic system established through Keep America Fishing (a branch of the American Sportfishing Association).
The system provides a standardized letter to lawmakers in assistance of a just recently introduced expense that resolves much of the most important obstacles dealing with saltwater leisure anglers in federal waters. For information on the history and present state of Gulf red snapper management, go to Outdoorlife.com.