Sector separation and red snapper

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 09:20 AM.

Dear Editor,

Sector separation (amendment 40) will do nothing to help Red Snapper of the recreational fisherman.

All of my clients want to know why they catch a Red Snapper 95 percent of the time when they are bottom fishing or even flat lining and yet they can only keep them for nine days out of the year. At the same time they question why they can eat Red Snapper seven days a week year round at restaurants and yet cannot go catch one for themselves to eat. Their other main question is why are their fresh Red Snapper available at seafood markets seven days a week 365 days a year and yet they cannot go catch one for themselves? These red snapper are a public resource and should be available to the public first or at least equally to those who wish to fish for them themselves (just like our freshwater fish, Quail, Dove, Grouse, Ducks, Deer, etc., etc.).

The privatizing of our natural resources for monetary gain is not correct. If they are going to let people commercial fish for Red Snapper and Grouper it should be on a lottery type basis and anyone who wants to provide fish for sale should be able to catch and sell them. Even if it is still on an IFQ system. They should never have given away 51 percent of the Red Snapper to private individuals and it should never have been that big of a split Perhaps a more realistic split would be 30 percent of the Red Snapper for the commercial side and let some people go catch their own supper more often.

Something has to be done about the mismanagement of our fisheries. The Charter for hire has been screaming this for years, and now they punish us for not having better data collection which only the Gulf council /NMFS can implement. Catch 22.

It is a shame that everyone going fishing can see and document the overabundance of Red Snapper that is hurting the balance of the Gulf, and yet our seasons get shorter every year, and still with no data collection system being implemented.

Why can you buy Red Snapper anytime at restaurants and seafood houses (and they even export some too!) to make other people rich --but you cannot catch your own to eat????

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