Maybe it’s time for us to recall why we celebrate this day: too much government interference, too many autocratic decrees, too many entitlements for those who don’t work to pay the entitlements and the feeling that too many folks are living high off the hog when they don’t feed, care and eventually butcher the hog.
The current rules governing fishing in federal waters touch all those items. Now that Congress appears to want to revisit the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, let’s hope there’s some relief in rewriting that landmark legislation.
Let’s hope Congress has learned a lesson from the days, not too many years ago, when it reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens to leave much less room for federal fishery managers to interpret the regulations and to require federal fishery biologist to use more current data when establishing seasons and limits on dozens of species we like to catch.
And let’s hope one of our congressmen will offer an amendment or a rider to Magnuson-Stevens to split the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council into West and East zones to better manage the stocks off the Louisiana and Texas coasts.
Here’s the point: It’s troublesome when sitting in the Gulf Council’s Red Snapper Advisory Panel and hear a federal biologist say their teams could not catch red snapper in water less than 25 meters deep.
What? Where did they go? Did they not put their snapper traps in any water off our state’s coast?
Guess we can figure that 25 meters is about 75 feet of water, and guess that we can discount all those reports of the past three years that showed red snapper at rigs in the Grand Isle, South Timbalier, Ship Shoal and Eugene Island blocks in water as shallow as 40 feet.
It’s those same biologists that advise to restrict Louisiana fishermen to a 48-day season with a continued two-red snapper-per-day limit.
What all that should tell us is that federal managers discount reports from recreational fishermen, that they reject information that indicate red snapper are around darned near every platform, every wreck and ever reef off the Louisiana coast.
And it’s those same biologists who tell us that red snapper are no longer considered to be “overfished,” the term that triggered all this hooey over red snapper near two decades ago.
Yet those same federal biologist tell us that the western Gulf of Mexico is much closer than the eastern Gulf when it comes to rebuilding red snapper stocks to sustainable levels.
With two weeks left in the recreational red snapper season — it ends at 12:01 a.m. July 19 — why is it that we should bear any burden for the eastern Gulf’s inability to produce red snapper to sustainable levels?
Happy Fourth of July.