Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Council Takes a Responsible Approach to Raising Red Snapper Catch Limits

A fisherman adds a red snapper to the pile on a dock in Destin, Florida. - Photo: Tom McCann

Media Contact:
Katie Cline, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Telephone: (202) 351-0482
Email: kcline@oceanconservancy.org

July 17, 2013

New Orleans: Today, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council raised this year’s catch limit for red snapper from 8.46 to 11 million pounds due to the successful rebuilding of this iconic species. This action marks a historic moment in the management of the red snapper fishery, as catch levels are the highest they’ve been in 25 years.

Ocean Conservancy applauds this historic moment and decision – as both are an important boost for commercial and recreational fishing businesses and a strong indication that fisheries management under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) is working to restore our nation’s fisheries.

“This is a true success story. Red snapper is making a comeback due to the sacrifice and hard work of Gulf fishermen and support of resource managers, scientists and the concerned public,” said Elizabeth Fetherston, deputy director of Fish Conservation at Ocean Conservancy.  “Raising the limit recognizes progress in the effort to rebuild the region’s red snapper population and also demonstrates the effectiveness of the MSA in restoring America’s fisheries.”

This decision appropriately affords fishermen increased opportunities for this year – and more fresh, local seafood for consumers – while acknowledging the need to maintain the progress in rebuilding red snapper in the Gulf.

“Today's decision reflects a continuing push by the council to apply science-based solutions in support of the recovery of Gulf fisheries,” Fetherston said. “Whether it’s another day spent fishing on the water this fall, more fresh, local seafood or the ecological benefits of restoring the health of red snapper, fishermen, businesses, consumers and the public will see the benefits of this decision.”

Since the implementation of the 2007 amendments to the MSA, the rebuilding of the red snapper population has served as an example of unprecedented success in restoring the health and economic vitality of U.S. fisheries.

Red snapper is an iconic Gulf species, and its restoration is vital to the economic interest of the region. By setting the limit at a responsible level, we will maintain the progress that’s already been made and continue on the path to a full recovery of red snapper in the Gulf.

For more information on Gulf restoration, including a map of vital red snapper habitat, visit: http://www.oceanconservancy.org/places/gulf-of-mexico/gulf-atlas.html

Or read Ocean Conservancy’s report highlighting pioneers of American fishery management: “The Law That’s Saving American Fisheries: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act”.

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