Red Snapper fishing is kind of a big deal. In fact Red Snapper fishing plays such a significant role in the Gulf Coast economy that when threatened by bureaucracy, the president himself had to get involved. Regulations, handed down by Washington, on all things red snapper fishing have started a battle. According to the mainstream media, fisherman are simply ravaging the Gulf Coast fishing stock for personal profit or gain. We are writing this blog to tell you a very different story. This is a story of governmental oversight & gross bureaucratic negligence. The truth is that the small business owners & families on vacation are not conspiring to desecrate fish populations in the gulf.
Red Snapper Fishing & The Federal Government Part 1
Over the last 10 years anglers and all 5 states have fought the government for the right of states to individually regulate red snapper fishing in their own state waters. However, over the last 4 years or so, more and more politicians are beginning to align themselves with the interests of their own constituents. The federal government had full control of our waters. When confronted by local officials as to why the 2017 & ’18 red snapper fishing seasons were cut short the feds were quoted as saying “near perfect weather everyday and an increase in enthusiasm for the season”; meaning too many people were booking trips for snapper, they claimed they met their quota by cutting the season short by 19 days.
It’s just 19 day right? WRONG- 19 days of planned trips were canceled, causing a huge loss for many businesses lining the gulf coast. It was not only the business owners that were negatively affected but their customers as well were losing money because of refunds and cancellation fees/policies. State control of red snapper fishing was brought before the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in 2016. The Irony is in that fact that President Trump, elected in 2016, is the 1st president in a long time to openly defy the status quo of government regulation, meaning that he is inclined to allow the states to choose.
Red Snapper Fishing & The Federal Government Part 2
At first, they did not know how the for-hire boats such as shrimpers and commercial boats, permitted by the federal government, would fit into their own program. How did they fix the issue of not understanding their new red tape? With several governing bodies trying not only to pass but enforce new regulations, the federal government’s self imposed “situation”, things become complicated quickly. Keep in mind that 5 different states share these waters with the federal government. Additionally, there are several different types of fishing operations affected. In an attempt to solve that issue the feds began giving certain people an EFP (Exempted Fishing Permit). It’s basically an all access pass to any seafood product captain, historical researcher, conservationist & market research, etc. to the gulf’s waters.
This is where they water begins to get real muddy.
They went ahead and gave those out before the law, Amendment 50, was released and they saw a huge increase in allocation which gave us the ability to set size and bag limits within certain guidelines. But every state is different, so the total allowable catch did not equal the total 100%. They had 3.78% leftover, so they gave it to Florida because they were the final state to apply. Florida is one of the largest markers for red snapper. In the end, Alabama and Florida split that 3.78% because they are both the largest consumers of red snapper. Alabama only having 3% of the Gulf coastline, will receive 26.298% of the total allowable catch. After all the factors were looked through and tested, Amendment 50 was passed; allowing the states to create their own plan. Alabama’s allocation for red snapper’s private recreational season under EFP is 1,079,765 pounds as of this year 2019. Alabama’s allocation for 2020 season will be increased to 1,122,661 pounds if the private recreational sector does not exceed their quota in 2019.
Red Snapper Fishing & The Federal Government Part 3
As if you’re not confused enough, here is some more food for thought. The Gulf of Mexico has the most artificial reefs in the world. Part of how they regulate snapper is through captains logs of daily catches and conservationist keeping up with the numbers. It sounds pretty simple right? Wrong, the problem is the federal government only counts the natural reefs we have, leaving the thousands of others harboring 100,000’s of fish unaccounted for. Long story short, Washington D.C. profits from regulating for the sake of regulation. I am of the opinion that our friends in DC should stick to the business of blaming each other for the current state of whatever their last short sided scandal brought to the headlines and leave the business of red snapper fishing to the people. The people that truly depend on a sustainable fisheries program to put food on their plate and create memories for future generations.
The take away for you is simple. Call Caitlyn (850-375-2223) & book early in the season because you can’t trust the government.