Yesterday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced a temporary rule to re-open the 2017 private angler recreational red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico for 39 weekend days and holidays in federal waters. Earlier this month, the shortest federal red snapper season in history closed on June 4, 2017, after only being open for three days. The extension of the season was the result of an agreement reached between the five Gulf states and the Department of Commerce to bring the federal and states seasons in line for the remainder of the summer.
“We sincerely appreciate Secretary Ross and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members who worked to realize this extension and afford families additional opportunities to enjoy fishing for one of the Gulf of Mexico’s most popular sportfish,” said CSF Fisheries Program Director Chris Horton. “This announcement is welcome news for thousands of anglers who were unable to fish for red snapper in federal waters during the ridiculously short season earlier this month.”
As the red snapper population has continued to grow in both size and abundance, recreational anglers are predicted to catch their maximum allotted pounds of red snapper, known as a quota, more quickly. As a result, the seasons continue to get shorter under this system of federal fisheries management.
“While this is a positive step for 2017, we look forward to working with Members of Congress to find a long-term solution that promotes both conservation of the stock, as well as reasonable and equitable access to this important fishery for all anglers.”
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?