Improving Red Snapper Access in Gulf the Focus of New Grant

Money to be used for gaining more accurate data of species' population

red snapper in Gulf of Mexico
A new federal grant will provide funding for Gulf of Mexico reef and fish survey assessments and technologies.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

A new federal grant might be what helps Gulf of Mexico anglers have more opportunities to fish for a popular species.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s $9.5-million grant was authored by United States Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). It will fund efforts to improve estimates of Gulf red snapper and possibly improve fishing access, through Gulf of Mexico reef and fish survey assessments and technologies.

With more accurate data of population levels, recreational anglers could benefit from more fishing days for the species.

“NOAA will be funding external proposals by fishermen, educational institutions and others outside the National Marine Fisheries Service to survey red snapper and other reef fish in areas like oil rigs and reefs where the current government surveys just aren’t looking,” said Scott Gudes, American Sportfishing Association (ASA) vice president of government affairs.

The ASA said Gulf red snapper populations are at historic levels yet current access does not reflect that. The 2016 season was just nine days long.

“We hope these fully-independent surveys and new technology will lead to a new assessment and allocations that better align with the actual abundance of red snapper and its economic impact,” Gudes said.

To see more about this species, check out the link below offering a guide to near-shore fishing just a few miles off the Florida Panhandle.