The Coastal Conservation Assocation reports that the allocation was set using catch data from the mid-1980s, at a time when red snapper stocks were critically depressed and created an inaccurate picture of the fishery. That allocation has been allowed to stand ever since, but now anglers have the chance to help set things right. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is now accepting comments on a range of allocation alternatives for red snapper in Amendment 28, which gives six alternatives to the issue.
The alternatives include:
- Shifting the allocation to the recreational sector from the commercial sector by the amount of 3 percent, 5 percent, or 10 percent.
- Shift either 100 percent or 75 percent of any total combined commercial and recreational quota in excess of 9.12 million pounds to the recreational sector.
The CCA says that proper allocation is one of the pillars of proper fisheries management. Tremendous changes have occurred on the Gulf Coast over the past 30 years and to allow red snapper allocation to remain static for so long is completely unacceptable. Any number of studies show that the greatest economic benefits to the nation are achieved by shifting allocation to the recreational sector, but our access to the best red snapper fishing ever is still shackled by 30-year-old data.
According to the CCA there is misleading information that has been distributed recently by an organization called Share the Gulf, which is a coalition of environmental activists, commercial fishing businesses, seafood dealers and restaurants. Far from actually wanting to share the Gulf, this coalition wants to freeze this unfair allocation in place forever. One of their spokesmen even said recently that recreational angling groups need to stop taking away America's fish.
If you want to write to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, there is an online comment system that provides the public to give feedback on Amendment 28.