Tag Archives: red-snapper

South Atlantic Red snapper season vote upcoming

The long push to reopen red snapper fishing off the Southeastern coast comes to a head Monday when the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will vote on one of five alternatives. Folks involved in recreational and charter fishing have advocated that the snapper stock is strong. Savannah charter fisherman Zack Bowen said at the fisheries council meeting on Jekyll Island in March, “The recreational anglers are mad as hell” about the fishery closure and charter operations are losing business because of unavailable snapper. Also, the regional fisheries administrator said at the March meeting that he thinks the population is in its best condition in 40 years. The preferred alternative is No. 4, which sets the commercial limit at 124,815 pounds and recreational limit at 29,656 fish. click here to read the story 09:49

Legislative Bills would open red snapper harvest out to at least 25 miles

Louisiana senators and representatives have introduced companion legislation in Congress that would give states management authority of red snapper out to 25 miles or 25 fathoms, whichever is greater, off their coastlines. Currently, states control red snapper out to nine nautical miles. Both Louisiana senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, introduced the bill in the Senate, while Reps. Garret Graves, Cedric Richmond and Clay Higgins joined seven other representatives to propose the House bill. The legislation is designed to ensure Gulf of Mexico anglers have broader access to rebounding red snapper stocks during 2018 and beyond. This year, the Commerce Department gave recreational anglers 39 additional days in federal waters after NOAA Fisheries set a three-day recreational season. That move is being contested in court, and without legislation to address the issue, recreational anglers could be locked out of the fishery in 2018. click here to read the story 16:01

Conservation groups sue to stop snapper season extension

Several conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against the federal extension of red snapper season recently announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the suit, the groups said the decision jeopardizes the ongoing recovery of Gulf red snapper by increasing the federal private angler fishing season thirteen-fold. Chris Dorsett, vice president of conservation policy and programs for the Ocean Conservancy (one of the groups involved in the suit), spoke out against the extension of the federal season.,,, “This lawsuit is without merit,” Byrne said. “A lot of work went into this emergency rule put forward by the Department of Commerce. They went through a lot of study and worked with the individual Gulf states to get the state seasons in line with the federal seasons. The Department of Commerce did their homework here, and I have confidence that this lawsuit from a liberal Washington, D.C. environmental group will not ultimately be successful.” click here to read the story 09:18

Environmental groups suing Trump administration for extending red snapper season

Two environmental groups are suing the Trump administration for stretching the red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal government said the economic benefit from allowing weekend fishing this summer by recreational anglers in federal waters outweighs the harm to the red snapper species, which is still recovering from disastrous overfishing. Gulf state officials had lobbied for and praised the change, but the lawsuit says the decision violated several laws by ignoring scientific assessments, promoting overfishing, and failing to follow required procedures. It was filed Monday for the Ocean Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund. click here to read the story 13:13

Before You Eat That Red Snapper: The Fish Is Basically Plagued by Endless Fraud

Welcome to Before You Eat That, which broaches all the annoying food subjects that make you highly uncomfortable. This is for all you schadenfreude-obsessed killjoys out there. So far, we’ve covered the continuing saga of all things seafood: The is-it-too-smart-to-eat octopus, the oyster and its massive gonad, the sad plight of the disappearing freshwater eel, and now onward to the magnet for all things fraud, Red Snapper. Red snapper is one hell of a divisive fish. Among Texas anglers, big-time regulations make it a contentious subject between recreational and commercial factions. Among restaurants in America, the Congressional Research Service reported in 2015, 77 percent of red snapper being served in the country was not actually red snapper at all,,, Click here to read the article 21:11

Feds (No EDF and Pew) complain new Red Snapper season will hurt species’ recovery

The U.S. Commerce Department says recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico will have 39 more days to fish federal waters for red snapper,,,However, an environmental group and a charter captains’ association estimate that private anglers will take nearly triple their allocated 3.4 million-pound (1.5 million kilogram) quota of the sport and panfish under the plan, potentially canceling next year’s recreational season entirely.,,“The current system is failing private anglers and they deserve a fix,” Mike Jennings, president of the Charter Fisherman’s Association said in a prepared statement.,,, Earlier Wednesday, his group and the Environmental Defense Fund had emailed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, asking him to delay any decision until he had good scientific estimates of the likely catch. click here to read the story 16:45

Department of Commerce Announces Changes to the 2017 Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Private Angler Recreational Season

For the first time in a decade, Federal authorities and the five Gulf States have agreed to align Federal and State private angler red snapper fishing seasons for the remainder of the summer, and the Department of Commerce has re-opened the 2017 private angler recreational season for 39 weekend days and holidays.  Majority Whip Scalise and other Members of Congress were instrumental in reaching this agreement. The agreement reached between the Secretary of Commerce and the five Gulf States is a significant step forward in building a new Federal-State partnership in managing the Gulf of Mexico red snapper stock.The Departments rule does not change the quota or season length for the federally permitted for-hire component of the recreational fishery or the commercial individual fishing quota program and the 2017 commercial quota.  Click here to read the press release 18:13

Ed Killer: Can a protected fish be a nuisance?

Next week, in a hotel ballroom in Ponte Vedra Beach, there will be a lot of discussion about a controversial fish. Red snapper, a fish protected from harvest in federal waters since 2009, will be one of several species of fish evaluated during the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s quarterly meeting June 12-16. The Snapper Grouper advisory committee will convene Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a variety of issues about some 80 species of fish they are charged with managing. Chief among the issues will be complaints from fishermen who claim the red snapper has risen to nuisance phase in its population numbers off Florida’s coast.,, But red snapper fishing in Florida is a little like Charles Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities.” click here to read the article 14:45

Coastal Alabama Rep. slams NOAA ‘junk science’ behind shortest red snapper season ever

Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne shares the frustration of most in his district when it comes to the federal government’s overregulation of red snapper fishing. According to him, Coastal Alabamians are infuriated over the announcement that the much-anticipated red snapper season will only last a pitifully short three days. He believes they have a right to be mad. “[My constituents] have every reason to be outraged, because they have a right to fish in the waters of the United States, and they’re being deprived of that right by junk science. Put junk science in, you’re going to get a bad result out, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here,” Rep. Byrne said. Every year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announces how long the fishing season will last based on the size and stock of red snapper fish. click here to read the story 13:45

Recreational IFQ’s? Louisiana wants to give 150 anglers almost unlimited access to red snapper

Despite vehement opposition from recreational-fishing advocacy groups, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says it has worked up a pilot program that will award a significant portion of the state’s red snapper haul to select recreational anglers. The department announced the plan in a Thursday afternoon press release, just one day after meeting with pro-recreational fishing groups and mentioning nothing about the program. The structure would be similar to what exists in the commercial sector, where fishers have been awarded percentages of the overall commercial quota, and may harvest their red snapper at any time during the year. The system, called individual fishing quotas, has been panned by recreational-fishing organizations as well as good-government groups because it has set up so-called Sea Lords, who own quota and make hundreds of thousands of dollars on a public resource without ever leaving the dock. click here to read this story 20:20

Snapper silliness still has anglers seeing red

The bumper sticker on the white Ford pickup truck could not have been more clear: “National Marine Fisheries Service: Destroying Fishermen and Their Communities Since 1976!” Poignant. Harsh, even. But tame by today’s standards. The sticker made me think of an issue affecting offshore bottom fishermen who depart inlets between the Treasure Coast and South Carolina. I’m no mathematician, but something fishy is going on with red snapper statistics. Red snapper, a larger cousin of mutton snapper and mangrove snapper, resides in waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It is presently off limits to harvest by east coast anglers, and has been since 2010. The reason? Because 10 years ago, fisheries statisticians determined that the red snapper fishery was “undergoing overfishing.” Along with “jumbo shrimp,” that expression is still one of my all-time favorite oxymorons. click to continue reading the story here 08:28

Zurik: Snapper barons slam FOX 8 probe, but Trump admin. may think otherwise

An alliance of fishermen who make millions off a public resource wants us to retract all our stories from our “Hooked Up” series. The series showed how 50 fishermen can make $23 million a year from red snapper, and many never even drop a line in the water. The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and its executive director, Buddy Guindon, sent us a 23-page letter, calling our stories sloppy and biased. Many of the complaints focus on statements made by subjects we interviewed for our stories. They include 20 separate citations of comments in our series by Congressman Garret Graves of Louisiana.,, Graves says he’s heard from congressmen from all over the country since our five-part series was broadcast. He thinks now is the time to change the system.,,,While the group of 50 fishermen have been unhappy with our reports, we’ve heard from dozens of others with positive comments, like a Florida commercial fisherman who wrote, “Your report hit home with all our concerns in regards to how unfair the small commercial fishermen are being treated and wrongly represented.”Read the story here 12:32

Hooked Up!!! Sea lords and the secret votes that made them rich

The votes helped create the system that now allows 50 businesses and fishermen to control 81 percent of the nation’s commercial red snapper allocation. Those fishermen can make a total of $23 million every year. And the government gets nothing in return from the fishermen. “This is a public asset,” Congressman Garret Graves says. “You and I own this. The public owns this. You know, people always talk about [how] government needs to run like a business. Could you ever imagine a business saying, ‘Oh, here’s our inventory, and it’s free! You come in a grocery store, you take whatever you want.’ The vote predates Graves’ term in Washington. But last decade, Congress helped orchestrate it. The feds wanted to start what’s called an IFQ program, short for “individual fishing quota”. Fishermen would get an allocation to fish the entire year. Congress required three votes – first by a little-known public body called the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, an 11-member body that’s primarily appointed by the five Gulf states.  After the Gulf Council vote, Congress also required two votes by the commercial fishermen who already were permitted to fish for red snapper in the Gulf. And those are the votes that the federal government won’t let us see. Video, read the story here 11:09

HOOKED UP! PART II: Gulf Council chief talks about IFQ’s

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council manages the fishery resources in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s one of eight regional fishery management councils in the United States.  The Gulf Council essentially manages the fishery from the nine-mile mark out to the 200-mile limit.  “Before the IFQ, we tried a variety of ways to address the race for fish that was taking place,” says Dr. Roy Crabtree, regional administrator for the Gulf Council. “We had a limited commercial quota for red snapper. The fishermen were catching it up as quick as they could. They were flooding the market with fish  Fishery was closed most of the year, so we didn’t have year-round production. And we had safety-at-sea issues. Because fishermen were fishing in unsafe sea conditions. And we were having overruns of quota. Crabtree says the IFQ program was designed largely to address these problems. The article continues here 18:00

Playing Politics? NOAA: Red snapper data can’t be shared with states

sobeckA letter written late last month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates  that if red snapper are ultimately removed from federal oversight to be managed by the five Gulf states, much of the data currently collected on the species by NOAA — including stock assessments — would not be shared with the states. The letter dated Sept. 22 from Eileen Sobeck to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon contradicts what Rep. Garret Graves — the author of H.R. 3094 that would strip red snapper from federal oversight and award it to the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority — has said about how potential costs associated with stock assessments and data collection for snapper will be covered if his legislation becomes law. But Graves said the letter is just another in a long list of allegations brought by the LDWF in an attempt to derail the bill. “The reality is this: NOAA is going to go out there and do fish surveys, and they don’t have any idea what type of fish is going to come up in that net or on that long line, so for them to suggest that they’re going to pretend that some fish isn’t there and another fish is there is completely bogus,” Graves said. “And if NOAA is going to jump in and play these political games with Charlie (Melancon), have at it. Y’all enjoy your next two and a half months of playing games because y’all are gone. It’s just continued silliness and obviously has no merit.” Read the story here 17:28

Coast Guard reports increase in seizures of Mexican vessels stealing Red Snapper

12050078_gA recent study by the U.S. Coast Guard states hundreds of thousands of pounds of red snapper is taken illegally out of the waters by Mexican fishermen. U.S. fisherman Stephen Murphy said he knows they are after the red snapper. “You’re out there fishing and you look a mile away… It’s pretty obvious there’s a Mexican in a commercial boat out there with their long lines and gill nets bringing in thousands of pounds of fish,” he said. Murphy said the fishermen also use illegal catching nets. He said there needs to be more done to protect the fish. “There’s nobody out there patrolling… They can go out and fish for one night and get a thousand pounds of snapper,” he said. “(They’re) selling it for almost eight thousand dollars.” Video, read the story here 08:03

Charlie Melancon’s Department Of Wrongdoing And Falsehood

charlie-melanconHave you been paying attention to the chaos at hand with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries? It appears that there is a full three-ring circus going on with DWF and its secretary, the former Democrat congressman Charlie Melancon. And after eight months on the job it’s pretty clear that perception among the in-the-know crowd was largely correct. The department is awash in controversy, if not criminality, and those affected by it are furious. To full explain this, we should go back several years to a program set up at the federal level. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which is a federal commission set up to govern offshore fishing in the five Gulf states (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas), and the National Marine Fisheries Service set up something called the Individual Fishing Quota system, or IFQ, to govern commercial fishing for red snapper. Meaning, the federal government resorted to crony capitalism as a means to govern Gulf red snapper fisheries. If you were a big player in the red snapper harvest before the program got started, you were one of the cronies and your incumbency would be protected.  Read the story here. 19:20

Red snapper dispute continued at Wednesday meeting

red snapperThe war of words continued Wednesday during an all-day meeting in Baton Rouge designed to educate members of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission on red snapper management. A surrogate of Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, presented a letter declaring states would not be responsible for research funding under HR 3094, a bill authored by Graves and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, that would transfer management authority to Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. That directly contradicted charges made by Charlie Melancon, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, that the bill became an unfunded mandate when Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, tacked an amendment to it. “Amending things to death is how you kill a bill,” Melancon told the crowd of industry leaders and interested anglers Wednesday. “What was done to (HR 3094) was an attempt to kill the bill.” But Paul Sawyer, Graves’ chief of staff, presented a letter, signed by Bishop, stating that his amendment merely banned the transfer of funds to the states for fisheries research because that research would continue to be conducted by NOAA Fisheries. Read the story here 12:31

Better science and data, not catch shares

csf logoWith the exception of three mini-seasons (2012-2014) the red snapper fishery in the South Atlantic has been effectively closed for over six years. By most accounts from fishermen, red snapper are very plentiful – they are routinely encountered while fishermen target other species and divers report large schools. Yet, the stock assessment presented to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in June says that red snapper are still overfished and that overfishing is still occurring. This despite a lot of uncertainty about the data used in the assessment. Give the SAFMC credit for not accepting the assessment and asking its Scientific and Statistical Committee to reexamine the assessment and stock status determination this fall. The ongoing saga of the red snapper fishery highlights the fact that stock assessments can be flawed because of the lack of good biological and historical abundance information. In other words, much better science and data on our fisheries is needed. Instead of devoting adequate financial resources into stock assessments, NOAA has spent about $160 million over the last six years pushing its National Catch Share Policy in an effort to privatize fisheries. Studies have shown that catch share programs hurt fishing communities by destroying jobs and don’t provide any biological benefit to fisheries. 10:36

Rubio’s red snapper red herring

rubio redI see by the paper that Sen. Marco Rubio is getting into the political swim again. And once again he shows how unqualified he is for public office. Instead of weighing in on our really pressing problems here in Florida, he has chosen to take up the rights of sport fishermen to catch more red snapper. Seriously?,,,  But there are rules, which aim to protect all Floridians, including commercial fishing businesses. These rules are based on fact and science, a subject Sen. Rubio seems to know nothing about. We have some big problems to solve here in Florida and in our nation. A few examples include gun control, expanding health coverage by accepting the return of Florida taxes from the Fed, energy and education. These are the things I want to hear candidates talk about. Red snapper quotas are nothing but a “red herring.” Read the letter here 16:58

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner dismissed for pushing red snapper resolution, she says

red snapperA former member of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission says she was dismissed from the regulatory board after putting forward a resolution that irked Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon. Julie Hebert, who was appointed to the commission in October 2015 by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal, said she had received support from Gov. John Bel Edwards to have her term extended, but that was yanked after Hebert proposed a resolution supporting state management of red snapper. The resolution passed the commission unanimously in April. An avid recreational angler, Hebert said she’s been frustrated for years by what she views as federal mismanagement of red snapper. Fisheries biologists say the biomass of Gulf red snapper is higher than it’s ever been, and yet, recreational anglers have been squeezed down to annual seasons that are shorter than two weeks in federal waters. Read the story here 16:25

An open letter to all red snapper fishermen – An allocation solution?

redsnapperThere has been no proposal that can satisfy all the stakeholders in the Gulf Red Snapper fishery—the commercial, recreational and charter fleet. The latest move to reallocate red snapper quota from the commercials to the recs has angered the commercials because it took money from their business without adding significantly to the recs season. The same thing happened when the charter fleet separated from the recs. It gave them a longer season at the expense of the recs season. If you gave all the quota to the recs, two viable industries would be shut down and only increase their season to 18 days, roughly. Compounding the issue are the different regulations in state waters. It’s easy to game the system when I can practically fish in three, maybe four, states from Dauphin Island. So what do we do? I would ask you to consider a Gulf-wide tag system for the recs, very similar to the system for commercials and charter fleet. How would it work? Read the rest here 12:16

Opinion: Red Snapper recreational fishermen— Allow Reallocation Among Fishermen, want shift to state management

redsnapperMany Gulf Coast anglers have been asking themselves what the world is coming to lately, when they can fish federal waters for red snapper for only a few days this year while commercial boats can take sport fishermen out anytime to catch snapper for the boat to sell. I sure wondered how that could be when, in April, I first heard about Texas captain Scott Hickman’s trips,” which — quite legally — allow him to take sport fishermen along to fill his fish boxes per the commercial catch shares he owns. He accepts no payment from these anglers, just as by law he can accept no tips. The anglers cannot legally keep any fish nor buy fish from Hickman. But they can buy fish caught that day from the fish house back at the dock — for a premium price (at least a few bucks more per pound than the usual market price). At first, this scheme seemed outrageous to me, as it apparently did to many in the recreational-fishing community. Then I started trying to put my finger on why it pissed me off, and mostly I came up with reasons why it shouldn’t, especially when considered within the context of our bizarro snapper-management regime. Read the rest here 10:30

South Atlantic: Move surfaces to overhaul red snapper restrictions, limits

redsnapperFollowing the recent announcement that anglers will continue to be prohibited from keeping red snapper in the Atlantic Ocean this year, a member of the regional council that oversees fishing in the Southeast’s federal waters wants to overhaul how the species is regulated. Ben Hartig, a commercial fisherman from Hobe Sound, sent a letter last week to members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council that said current regulations are based on unreliable information about the red snapper population and number of fish caught. Hartig proposed a range of possible changes to the years-long, controversial plan in place to help increase the species’ numbers that, if pursued by the council, could go into place as early as 2018. Read the rest here 10:24

South Atlantic Council, NOAA science gets ripped! Another crooked closure of red snapper

NOAA ScientistMany of you aren’t fishermen. But even if you don’t know a red snapper from gangsta rapper, this might still be worth a look. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council is as crooked and bloated a government bureaucracy as exists today. It perverts science. It feeds on special interests. More importantly, it squanders a natural resource. It announced this week the 2016 season for the American Red Snapper will be closed — as it was in 2015. During the three years prior, the season was open for a total of 12 days. It all began in 2008 when NOAA scientists determined that the red snapper stock in the South Atlantic was at just 3 percent of the biomass 50 years prior. That would have been 1958 when there was neither a NOAA, nor any other group counting red snapper. Perhaps 10 percent of all boats, recreational and commercial, could make the trip out 50 miles where the species thrives. There was no real sonar to find the hundreds of reefs where the fish spawned and no satellite positioning systems to find them again if you did hit a honey hole by accident or luck. So the “science” began as a fabrication, and that continues today. Read the op-ed here 07:45

Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance spokesman blasts NMFS over Red Snapper reallocation

redsnapperThe National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has announced a decision to re-allocate quota in favor of recreational fishermen, much to the dismay of commercial catchers. According to the rule published on the Federal Register on April 28, the recreational sector will get 51.5% of the quota, not their usual 49%. Eric Brazer, Jr., deputy director of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, lambasted NMFS for the move. “Despite overwhelming opposition from the public, scientists, environmentalists, seafood supply chain, and our legal representative, not to mention unanimous opposition from the commercial red snapper industry, NMFS has decided to take red snapper allocation away from commercial fisherman and give it to the recreational sector that has overfished its allocation for nearly a quarter century,”,, Read the rest here 12:55

The “Catch Shares Fishing Experience.” Texas charter captains use loophole to get around federal red snapper limits

-fdbbe4a2846f729fThe future of recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is for sale in Texas. While charter boats and private recreational anglers in the Gulf were only allowed to catch red snapper in federal waters on 10 days last year, two companies in Galveston, Texas have been taking recreational anglers red snapper fishing all year round. The Texas companies have been getting around the federal limits and seasons by selling the “Catch Shares Fishing Experience.” The Texas companies involved own “catch shares” of the commercial red snapper fishery that allow them to harvest a set number of pounds per year for commercial sale. Instead of catching those fish with a professional crew and selling them to a fish house, the captains are taking recreational anglers fishing and letting them buy the fish afterward. Read the article here 07:54

Red-snapper limits help Louisiana’s restaurants and economy: Brett Veerhusen and Haley Bittermann

redsnapperLouisiana catches about 1 billion pounds of seafood every year for commercial sale, and with the demand for local seafood at an all-time high, we rely on our nation’s fishery management process to ensure sustainable fisheries. Louisiana restaurants rely on locally sourced, sustainably managed seafood. Close to 70 percent of seafood harvested off the Gulf Coast is landed in Louisiana. Chances are your delicious plate of red snapper is from one of our many locally run Gulf fisheries. Read the rest here 10:13

In the Gulf – Effects of Illegal Fishing on Local Fishing Industry

9728207_GOver 1,000 pounds of red snapper were seized from a lancha by the U.S. Coast Guard. There were 4 Mexican nationals aboard the boat. They were taken to the U.S. Coast Guard at the island. A charter fisherman said when people fish illegally his profits take a big hit. It can also drain a fishing spot. “Everything changed. We didn’t catch anything in that area, nothing. We didn’t even mark anything on our fish finder. It was absolutely zero,” Michael Walker said. Walker takes people out to fish. If there are no fish to catch, it can result in the loss of a customer. Read the rest here 09:19

Gulf Fishermen Sue Feds Over Red Snapper Quota Rule

statue-of-liberty-with-flagIn anticipation of clawing back red snapper quotas from Gulf Coast commercial fishers, feds have “frozen” red snapper fishing altogether, a group of fishermen claim in court. Following the proposal of a Republican-supported bill last fall with strong support from recreational fishermen that would have wrested control of red snapper regulations from the feds and placed it in the hands of individual states, the federal agencies in charge of regulation moved instead to grant recreational fishermen higher quotas for fish they are allowed to catch.  Read the article here 15:40