Interim federal red snapper season update

Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 08:52 AM.

Dear Editor,

As the owner and operator of the only marina and bait & tackle store here in Mexico Beach, I wanted to give a quick update: We sit right in front of one of the finest red snapper fisheries in the Gulf. On day one of this year’s nine-day Federal season we enjoyed terrific weather and a strong day of sales, primarily in bait and fuel. We also issue fishing license and have a day to day clear understanding of the fishing pressure or lack of, here in our area of the Gulf. Sunday, June 1 revealed trailers over-filling our public ramp area all the way out to U.S. 98 and back to the marina. Let's forget the fact the season opened on Sunday and not Saturday for now.  Fast forward to this morning, I have a Accuweather app on my phone that I refer to daily. This morning we had a small-craft advisory and the next three days show rough seas at best. I am able to see the ramp area from our condo and can tell you this morning we had four trucks with trailers in the lot and so far today the marina has sold a fraction of what was sold yesterday in bait and fuel. Last Tuesday, my family went out approximately six miles and caught twelve red snapper totaling 175 pounds (do the math on the average).  Ten years ago this was impossible! Now, before one of the hired hacks with the EDF, who already has pen in hand and begins to write, let's understand this: The fishery was re-built years ago and I have a good idea they know it. They can continue to collect and manipulate their bogus data, but one thing they cannot do is hide the obvious overflowing red snapper fishery that we are all literally tripping over now. Meanwhile, what does NOAA, NMFS and Gulf Council do? They continue to restrict access to the recreational fisherman. 

We are all about conservation; the vast majority of all recreational fishermen get it! What we don't get it is why do we keep losing more and more access to a fishery that has obviously rebounded ten-fold? Could it be because it's not about the fishery at all and part of a much bigger agenda? We will save catch shares and sector separation for another day and discussion.

Remember! You can't hold back the tide or hide the obvious forever. But I'll bet they'll keep trying.

Stay tuned! 

Nate Odum

Mexico Beach Marina & Outfitters

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