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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The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...