The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Reef Fish and Red Snapper Advisory panels met last week in Tampa, Fla. Word from the Red Snapper Panel’s meeting was the committee voted 6-5 against Reef Fish Amendment 40, the council’s move that would separate the recreational red snapper fishery into private and for-hire sectors.
Even though the committee’s decision is unlikely to carry a lot of weight when the GMFMC meets Aug. 25-28 at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi, a red snapper advisory group voting down this move is a big step for recreational fishermen across the five Gulf states.
Yes, this is a hot topic, and doting on it too long risks losing readers, but word coming from the meeting was that if the council cuts out a quota of red snapper from the annual recreational limit, the private sector — the recreational fisherman who has a boat and wants to catch red snapper — will have one-day season in 2015.
If that’s not enough reason to protest Amendment 40’s Sector Separation management measure at the 6 p.m. Aug. 18 public comment meeting at Hyatt Place, 6080 Bluebonnet Blvd. in Baton Rouge, and attend the full council meeting in Biloxi, then I guess we can kiss the recreational red snapper season good-bye.
From here, there’s very good reason to give charterboat operators their group’s annual quota, and require ultra-strict reporting requirements, but their take from the red snapper stock must come from both the recreational and commercial sides.
Yes, there are arguments that recreational fishermen are catching snapper on “for-hire” boats, but is that activity more a function of a fun day on the water, or an operation that is selling red snapper to a designated group who wants to catch fish instead of buying them from a seafood market or picking a restaurant that serves red snapper.
A “for-hire” operation relies on making money just like a commercial fisherman does, but uses a different method to catch the fish that comes into their boats.
The first collection
Megan Nuismer at Second Harvest in New Orleans reported to Baton Rouge-based Hunters for the Hungry organizer Richard Campbell that donations of fish from the H4H freezer at Venice Marina went to the kitchen of the Pilgrim’s Rest Community Development Center in Empire.
Fishermen and charter skippers at Venice Marina cleaned and donated part of their catch in recent weeks and put them in a freezer purchased through monetary donations to the H4H Committee.
Nuismer said Venice Marina Harbor Master Paul Reeves worked with Second Harvest to get 50 pounds of filleted fish to Pilgrim’s Rest.
A second collection location was established in early July at Bridge Side Marina on Grand Isle.