Steve Southerland, red snapper and catch shares

Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 09:11 AM.

By Capt. Tom Adams

Mexico Beach Charters

 

Six years later we are back again at the same crossroads. Shorter red snapper seasons and the EDF backing a select few commercial and charter fishermen advocating for Sector Separation. Most of you might say, “I thought Catch Shares had been tabled.”

Well, it has,  so the EDF and their small percentage of commercial and Charter fishermencame up with another way to get the same idea back on the table ”Sector separation.” This is the new term now,a revised plan to take more Red Snapper away from recreational fishermenand give it to the charter boats.

If not for the efforts of our Rep. Steve Southerland, his team(locally Melissa Thompson) and others in Washington this scheme to take more Snapper and fishing days away from would have already passed. We are in a battle right now to keep the public’s access to our gulf fishopento the public.  EDFhas been pumping over a million dollars into small organizations likeShare the Gulfand Gulf Fisherman’s Association. They may still lose this war if we all get active now! Although most local commercial fishermen do not agree with what is happening, it is being pushed through the Gulf council, National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA, at record pace with the seemingly unlimited funds of the EDF, Oceans Conservancy and Pew.

They want to take your fish away, shorten your fishing seasons and limit the future opportunities for anglers to participate in our rich fishing heritage. A final hearing took place Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. CT in Biloxi, MS and was open for public comment. For all anglers that didn’t even get a chance to fish for red snapper this year, now is the time to be heard.



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