Holly Binns, Project Manager for the Pew Environment Group's Campaign to End Overfishing in the Southeast, issued the following statement today about the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's 7 to 6 vote to halt red snapper fishing for six months, with an optional six-month extension, in the South Atlantic from North Carolina to Florida. The moratorium would go into effect as early as mid-June.
“We commend the council's decision to close the red snapper fishery. Although we understand the hardships when fisheries close, this is a critical time for the species. Red snapper overfishing has been so severe for so long that failure to act would risk irreparable damage to our ocean ecosystem and the long-term health and value of an important fishery.
“The moratorium is just the first step toward long-term recovery. It stops the clock and gives us more time to follow through with a well thought-out, science-based plan to restore a healthy population. Most importantly, we need to establish safe levels for future snapper fishing as well as measures to help reduce the number of red snapper caught accidentally during fishing for other species such as gag grouper.”