Here's a quote from NMFS Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council Voting Council Member Robin Riechers;
"The mean weight of red snapper retained by recreational anglers during the 2007 season was 3.4 pounds, said Robin Riechers, Gulf Council member and director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's coastal fisheries division.
That average weight increased to 4.07 pounds in 2008 and jumped to 5 pounds this past year, he said.
“The good news is that fishermen are catching bigger snapper and catching them at a faster pace,” Riechers said. “The down side is that it takes fewer snapper and fewer days for them to reach their annual allowable catch.”
Now, here's a quote from NOAA administrator Lubchenco responding to Senator LeMieux at the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee meeting this week;
"With respect to the red snapper fishery, I understand that fishermen may not have confidence in the data but this is not a situation where we don't have good information. Uh, I think the challenge with something like red snapper is that, umm, the, uhh, calculations about what is a sustainable level of fish take into account, uhh, how, uhh, what size the fish are, uhh, and what many of the fishermen are seeing are lots and lots of younger fish and are assuming that, uhh, that means that they are recovered and that there are plenty out there. In fact, uhh, it's important for those younger fish to get larger and reproduce for the future health of the fishery. And the complication with red snapper is very much that it is a directed fishery and they are also bycatch in other fisheries, for example grouper. So, they get hammered both directly and indirectly and uhh we have been working hard to try to find the right balance in allowing some fishing to happen but not preventing, uhh, the recovery of those stocks."
Seems to me that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing here; On one hand, they claim they have to reduce our season because the fish, on average, were much larger than before...and on the other hand, they are saying that they must reduce our season because the fish are too young and need to be able to reproduce.
Anybody else see the "Heads I win/Tails you lose" scenario here?
Map Maker, Reef Maker, and "Environmental Consultant"