Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Friday, 06 November 2009
JHathaway2 I had the privilege this week of attending a luncheon on the red snapper fishery.
Not the one off the Southeast Atlantic coast that is currently embroiled in controversy, but the Gulf of Mexico fishery that is clawing its way back from oblivion with an IFQ and an eye toward tripling its overall quota.
The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' Alliance is working hard to recruit fishermen and other stakeholders to continue their efforts toward branding this recovering fishery and possibly even gaining Marine Stewardship Council certification.
Anyone who is familiar with the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Avoid List (often called the Red List) may be surprised to hear that red snapper fishermen are publicizing their preassessment with the MSC.
Well, that certainly speaks to the confusion often caused by these pocket lists, despite their clear efforts to inform and empower consumers.
But it also speaks to the power of fishermen to recover and resurge.
David Krebs, a Destin, Fla., fisherman, dealer and member of the shareholders' alliance, spoke passionately and eloquently at this gathering in Boston on Wednesday.
When answering questions about the group's marketing efforts and whether the goal was to pump up the price of red snapper, he said, "I don't think fishermen are looking for more money, but they're looking for credibility."
It's a shame that these fishermen who are working to fish sustainably and allow a complete recovery of their fishery also have to have a powerful organization behind them to beg the folks at Monterey Bay to put an asterisk on their red snapper red-listing.
But I sure am glad they have it.
The alliance is also striving to bring some form of accountability to the recreational fleet that claims 49 percent of the overall red snapper quota in the Gulf of Mexico. As of now, there is no tagging program and no reporting requirement.
For more information on the shareholder's alliance, visit their Web site, and consider joining.
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