Federal fisheries managers are asking for feedback on a pilot program that would give states oversight of recreationally caught red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico region.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries announced a comment period on five exempted fishing permits submitted by each of the Gulf of Mexico states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The purpose of the exemptions is to allow states to demonstrate the effectiveness of state management of recreationally caught red snapper and data collection methods through two-year pilot programs, according to NOAA Fisheries.
The permits would allow states to establish seasons when red snapper could be landed, giving licensed recreational anglers the ability to land fish caught in federal waters during the state season.
States would monitor snapper landings and close seasons if the state’s assigned quota is reached or projected to be reached.
Comments, which are due by April 2, can be submitted here.
As of this morning, there were only 103 comments on the proposed program, with several supporting the plan, as well as several opposing it.
“As a Florida state licensed and regulated charter captain, I must say this is a travesty against the honest, hard-working small business man,” wrote Larry Pentel on Monday. “With all the recent and proposed regulations on charter fishing in the Gulf it is hard to not draw the conclusion you are doing your best to put us all out of business.”
“I support State management and EFPs [exempted fishing permits],” wrote Rob Murdoch on Wednesday. “Each state needs to be able to manage their fisheries as needed.”
Applications from Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi only request managing the private angling component; those from Louisiana and Texas apply to both the private angling component and federal for-hire components