Snapper rules have some seeing red

Next week, expect to hear more talk about confounding math methods than the first time our schoolchildren introduced us adults to Common Core. Then expect to hear that many anglers turned as red in the face as the scales on the red snapper they will again be told they can’t keep when fishing in federal waters.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will meet in Cocoa Beach for week-long meetings to discuss management of some of the more than 100 species of important food fish and popular game fish it is responsible for handling.

The bulk of the focus during next week’s meetings will be on the red snapper, a fish that is very important to three sectors with very different goals. Red snapper grow large, fight hard, fetch a good price at the market, and have a critical role in the ecosystem of the coral reefs located on the sea floor from North Carolina to Florida’s Treasure Coast.

Commercial fishermen working out of ports from Sebastian and Port Canaveral to the Outer Banks would love to target red snapper year round. Charter boat operators in that same zone are stinging ever since the National Marine Fisheries Service put a halt to red snapper harvest in 2010. Recreational anglers who fish a day or two on the weekend aren’t allowed to take any home for dinner, either.

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About the author

Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is the online editor for National Fisherman.

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