The wrangling over red snapper continues, and, for the umpteenth consecutive time, red snapper will dominate the Monday-through-Thursday Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council meeting in Orange Beach, Alabama.

It remains difficult to believe that a species beyond its recovered goals in the western Gulf of Mexico continues to be such a contentious issue.

Red snapper, really?

Yet here we go again in this saga of commercial versus recreational, and this time it’s over what would appear to be a relatively innocuous subject, the establishment of something called the “ad hoc private recreational advisory panel.”

Last week’s Advocate op-ed posting by Louisiana charter skipper Bryan Carter has the floor today. Carter pushed for establishing the panel. He’s gained his fame catching redfish in south Louisiana marshes, but said he “occasionally enjoys snapper fishing in a recreational capacity,” all of which means he doesn’t hold a federal offshore charter permit, which denies him the ability to catch and keep red snapper.

It was confirmed last week that Carter’s op-ed piece came via the New Orleans-based Ocean Conservancy (at least that’s the address listed on its website).

From its website, OC lays claim to helping establish an “international moratorium on commercial whaling,” protecting fur seals from over-hunting, banning the international trade of sea turtles, helping to create national marine sanctuaries and reducing bycatch.

Its website touts “science-based restoration plans that ensure this environmentally and economically important region’s full recovery become a reality,” all the while knowing federal “science” is a big problem.

Don’t see where any of that relates to a recreational fishing advisory panel, and it begs the question of why all the bother to get Bryan Carter involved.

Smell a rat? Or a wolf arriving in sheep’s clothing?

I do, since the Environmental Defense Fund is also pushing for the same panel.

And knowing the track record of OC and the EDF when it comes to recreational red snapper, there can only be one conclusion. OC and EDF will attempt, as they have in the past, to stack this panel with “their” people to push “their” agenda to remove the recreational fishing factor from the Gulf of Mexico’s fishing equation. It’s long known these two groups want a tagging program for recreational fishermen.

All the while, the directors of the five Gulf states are opposed to this panel — the prevailing sentiment being that regional management of red snapper will take care of these issues — as is every major recreational fishing organization. Something’s not right here, and if this issue was put on a global political scale, OC’s stance here is akin to the Palestine Liberation Organization suddenly espousing Zionism.