On the surface, the proposal this past week by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to increase the 2015 quota of red snapper allowed to be taken by recreational anglers to a record level sounds like great news for Texas' offshore fishing community.
And it is, if taken simply as a reflection of how much the Gulf's red snapper population has rebounded since it crashed in the late 1980s from the hammering of unrestricted commercial and recreational fishing and loss of juvenile snapper as bycatch in offshore shrimp trawls. After all, the proposed recreational quota of 7.04 million pounds is 1.65 million pounds more than the 2014 quota and nearly three times more than the 2009 quota of 2.45 million pounds. That's a lot of fish.
But like almost everything that has happened with regulations of the red snapper fishery since federal officials took control of the fishery in the 1980s, even good news about the snapper fishery doesn't necessarily translate into good news for the average recreational angler.
Despite the proposed (and almost certain to be approved) increase in the red snapper quota, most recreational anglers face what could be the shortest snapper season in federally controlled waters since year-round fishing ended in 1997, and season length has steadily shriveled.
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