BILOXI, Miss.–Whether you like to catch red snapper or not, the recreational season has been shortened to 11 days and that could mean some of your fellow Mississippians will suffer. This is how you can do something to change that.
It’s concern from the federal government that the red snapper population may be too low in the Gulf.
Capt. Frank Becker runs a fishing operation that takes recreational fisherman into waters off the Miss. coast. He said his operation will suffer if the federal government doesn’t change its mind.
“They came out in January they came out with a 40-day season, then about the middle of the month, last month, they changed their mind and gave us only 11 days,” he said.
That’s down from a 40-day season last year, which was shorter than past seasons. Jamie Miller, head of Mississippi’s Dept. of Marine resources, said the season was 180 days in 2007.
“There have been some things recently that have complicated the number of days that can be fished,” he said. “One was a lawsuit brough to a federal court in D.C. and there are other states in the Gulf that have opened state seasons that have further complicated and reduced the number of days.”
He said data is key and there are a limited number of pounds allowed by the feds to be caught in the Gulf each year.
“There are many questions about whether the stock assessment is accurate. The lawsuit kind of piled onto that and the commercial red snapper sector brought a lawsuit and said the federal government needed to hold the recreational sector more accountable. They have gotten more conservative and reduced the number of days. Everyone across the Gulf is frustrated.”
Miller said you can come to a forum Tuesday at 6 p.m. to voice your opinion. It’s at the Biloxi Civic Center, 578 Howard Ave.