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What Happened? The Recreational Red Snapper Season Shortened Again, Fishermen React

Red snapper
Chris Davis

BILOXI, Miss.–Some people thought what was said at a big meeting on the coast about the recreational red snapper season might show the feds that fishermen need some slack. The season was already reduced from 40 days last year to 11 this year. But instead of giving people more days to fish, it got reduced to nine days.

That means, first, you have a lot less time to catch red snapper, and, second, another big financial hit for charter boats that take people out fishing in the Miss. Sound.

Capt. Tom Becker is the president of the Miss. Charter Boats Assoc., and his reaction was one of shock Thursday.

“We had a meeting and the next thing I get this notice…stating we’re reducing it to nine days. I had to tell the captains and every one of ‘em said ‘oh man, I’ve already lost thousands of dollars and here we’re gonna lose a couple more thousand,” he said.

Becker said he believes the feds are looking at flawed data when they set the year’s quota for red snapper. The decision comes from NOAA Fisheries.

“They don’t test the open areas, they don’t check the reefs for the fish that might be on them, that we’ve made, all they do is natural reefs, and the oil rigs-they’re not part of their data.”

With the season set to open June 9, there may not be much that can be done now.

This year’s quota is 4.312 million lbs.

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