LONGER RED SNAPPER SEASON POSSIBLE?

This is from a NOAA representative on the SSC, in regards to a longer red snapper season being possible, IF the bag limit is reduced from 2 fish per day to 1.

“We predicted ~30+ days in A40. If catch rates are similar this year compared to last year than you could be looking at 45+ days with a 1 fish bag limit. If fishermen compensate for the lower bag limit by harvesting larger fish then the season lengthen will obviously not be as long. I expect that would be the case for many trips.”

If the limit stays at 2 fish, the season could run 25 days – which is still a lot longer than last year’s 9 day season, but remember, this is for a fish that just about everyone admits is fully recovered, and more.

Since red snapper are primarily a “food fish”, and the survival rate for released snapper is dismal – how many of us will be spending the money in this economy to either charter a boat or put fuel in our private boat to catch 1 snapper per person per trip? Unless you consider a couple of snapper just a bonus catch while primarily after king mackerel or some other species (not triggerfish, since they will be off limits). Many years ago NOAA/NMFS had the bright idea to impose an 18″ MINIMUM size limit on red snapper, which resulted in dead 14 – 17″ snapper floating all over the Gulf! Fortunately, the fact that this policy killed many more snapper than having a 14″ limit was seen, but a one fish limit could have much the same result, as anglers cull their catch to keep only the largest snapper of the day.

Hey, why don’t we just have a zero snapper per day limit? Or, if we just use computers to do our figuring, maybe even a minus fish limit? If all red snapper anglers were required to take a set number of live snapper with them on each trip to be released, I bet there would soon be a computer model that calculated a huge increase in red snapper in the Gulf?

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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