As hard as it might be to believe, management of the Gulf red snapper fishery reached a new level of frustration. At its meeting in Mobile, the Gulf Council announced that the overall quota of red snapper harvest will be increased, but the 2012 season will likely be the shortest ever, perhaps no more than 40 days. Why?
Well, the fishery is rebounding beyond all hopes and expectations. It’s a smashing success story by almost any definition…. except the one used by NOAA Fisheries. There are more red snapper out there than anyone can explain, and the fish are much bigger than anyone thought they would be at this point in the rebuilding plan. Anglers are catching big, fat red snapper so fast we are reaching our quota even before the meager allotment of days set for our season elapses. The only answer NOAA Fisheries has to offer is to keep cutting days off our season so that anglers stay within their limits.
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