GULF SCIENTIFIC PANEL SAYS REALLOCATION OF RED SNAPPER WOULD BE UNJUSTIFIED

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Socioeconomic Scientific and Statistical Committee (SESSC) unanimously agreed that instead of reallocating red snapper to the recreational fishery (Amendment 28), the Gulf Council should shift its work toward finding management solutions that could improve fishing opportunities for recreational fishermen.

Amendment 28 is a controversial proposal being considered by the Gulf Council that would take a portion of the red snapper fishery out of the consumer seafood market and move into the recreational fishery.

The SESSC, a 13-member panel that includes many experts on fisheries economics who are appointed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, is tasked with providing impartial, science-based recommendations on proposals being considered by the Council.

The public, scientists and fishermen across the Gulf of Mexico have made it clear that reallocating fish is not the answer to the problems recreational fishermen are facing. We need new management that can improve fishing for all anglers and we hope the Gulf Council will pursue these ideas.

In recent months, the Council has begun to move forward with amendments that may improve recreational red snapper management and provide more fishing opportunities for everyone. These ideas include giving charter boats and individual anglers separate quotas, delegating certain individual angler management responsibilities to the states, improving recreational data collection and an individual allocation-based system for the charter industry.

Share the Gulf believes that if managed correctly, the red snapper fishery can provide enough fish for everyone. In recent months, the coalition of more than 30,000 Gulf residents have urged the Gulf Council to halt all work on Amendment 28 until the recreational fishery has new management that improves fishing access for all anglers.

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