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  • Red Snapper - Potential Increase for Recreational Anglers

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    Gulf Council To Hold Public Hearings to Decide Whether More Red Snapper Should be Allocated to Recreational Anglers

    Recreational anglers encouraged to attend.

    If you enjoy fishing for red snapper, you have an opportunity to help ensure that recreational anglers get a bigger piece of the pie. The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council has scheduled a public hearing in Gulfport on Wednesday, March 12, to solicit comments on Gulf red snapper allocation. The meeting will be held at the Courtyard Marriott, 1600 East Beach Blvd., Gulfport at 6 p.m. This is a great opportunity for recreational anglers to actually see an increase in the red snapper harvest, so members are encouraged to turn out and provide their input or simply show support for the recreational sector.

    The hearings will focus specifically on Reef Fish Amendment 28 which sets forth alternatives to potentially change how the red snapper fishery should be allocated between commercial and recreational sectors (see attached document to the left for a great summary of the history of the fishery and the rule). The current allocation of Gulf of Mexico red snapper, which is 51% commercial and 49% recreational, was established in 1990 through Reef Fish Amendment 1. This allocation was based on the historical average of red snapper landings by sector from 1979 through 1987 - data that is almost 30 years old. The red snapper stock in the Gulf of Mexico has been rebounding under a rebuilding plan in place since 1997. This improvement in the red snapper stock led the Gulf Council to begin considering amendments to shift some of the allocation to recreational anglers. This is a significant opportunity for recreational anglers to see longer seasons and more opportunity to pursue red snapper.

    The Council's preferred alternative (#5) states that if the red snapper quota is less than or equal to 9.12 million pounds, the allocation will remain the same. If the red snapper quota is greater than 9.12 million pounds, then 75% of the amount in excess of 9.12 million pounds will be allocated to the recreational sector and 25% to the commercial sector.

    While there may be strong arguments from recreational anglers to pursue one of the more aggressive alternatives that would provide an even greater shift of the resource to recreational fishermen, Alternative 5 is a good compromise and a realistic alternative because it would provide commercial fishermen with a continued harvest that meets or exceeds the historical high and would allow the recreational sector (that provides the greatest economic benefit) to have an increasing share of the allocation as the stock continues to recover.
    I would like to encourage you to attend the meeting if possible and to submit your comments in favor of Alternative #5.

    If you can not attend the hearing, comments on Reef Fish Amendment 28 will also be accepted online at http://bit.ly/MS14U0. Your participation in these proceedings is critical if Mississippi's recreational anglers hope to increase their share of the red snapper harvest in the future.

    If you have questions about the potential options, the hearing or how you can participate, please feel free to contact me by email at jmarquez@ccamississippi.org or by phone at (228) 223-8476.

    Johnny Marquez
    Executive Director
    CCA Mississippi
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