Exactly how healthy are stocks of red snapper on reefs off Florida’s Gulf Coast? Does anybody really know?
Recreational anglers have been claiming the fishery is in excellent shape, as good fishermen are catching plenty and there are no complaints about size.
Federal fishery managers disagree, based on their own scientific methods of data-gathering.
The ongoing conflict between recreational and commercial fishermen grows more loud as seasons grow shorter for offshore species.
A lawsuit brought by commercial fishermen led the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to announce an 11-day season for recreational boats starting June 1 in federal waters, beyond nine nautical miles where most of the sizeable snapper are found.
If red snapper are in such peril that an 11-day season is needed, why have a season?
And if red snapper are abundant, let recreational anglers take their fair share.
The conflict is in the numbers.
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