Written by Jen Finn
WASHINGTON Over 18 years of running Old Dixie Seafood in Boca Raton, Larry Siemsen has seen supplies of locally caught red snapper dwindle and prices double, thanks to decades of over-fishing and recent federal restrictions to help the popular fish recover.
"During tourist seasons down here, there's not enough supply for the demand," Siemsen said. Like local restaurants, Siemsen has relied increasingly on imports from waters off Latin America.
Today, though, the red snapper is making a comeback near Florida's shores, saved by those strict federal limits. And Florida anglers, state officials and boat captains — who say they're finding far more big, healthy snappers — are clamoring for looser limits on both the Atlantic catch and the Gulf of Mexico, where far more of the tasty fish are taken.
Not so fast, conservationists say: Give the red snapper more time to rebound — much like sea bass, a recent success story — so it can remain a staple catch for fishermen and a favorite dish in restaurants.
Even Darden Restaurants — which has seafood on the menu of all of its 1,900 restaurants — supports the quotas. In a letter last June to the Gulf Management Council, the company called for a continuation of the quota, though it said commercial fishers should be alloted more and recreational anglers less.
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NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.Read more...
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...