Florida governor and RFA oppose shortened red snapper season

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Recreational Fishing Alliance are protesting a move by federal fishery management officials to reduce the red snapper recreational fishing season in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scott sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on Thursday outlining his disappointment about the lack of flexibility the federal system allows for the management of the red snapper season and other stock fish.

“The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act lacks much-needed flexibility,” Scott wrote in his letter. “The recreational red snapper season in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will be only a few days this year — assuming harvest is even allowed. Federal recreational season lengths have declined from 365 days per year to likely less than 11 days this year, all while anglers have watched red snapper become more abundant as the stock continually improves.”

The Recreational Fishing Alliance sent a national bulletin on April 10, announcing that the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery had “all but closed" to recreational anglers.

Citing a recent court decision brought about with the help of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council asked National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries to implement more rigid restrictions in federal waters on the basis of 2013 recreational data collection results.

The RFA has pointed out that recreational red snapper seasons in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico have been significantly reduced every year since the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens act.

"We need a change in management of our fisheries," Pam Anderson, of Capt. Anderson's Marina in Panama City Beach, Fla., said in a statement. "Our state fishery managers know we must be protective of our resources. That is a given as far as all of us are concerned. But they know that the NOAA data collection and modeling process is seriously flawed and they know the economic impact to their states matters."

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