02/25/2011 - Commercial and recreational fishermen have descended on downtown St. Petersburg to protest federal fishing regulations that curtail the taking of gag grouper in federal waters.
Gag grouper, considered a money fish for commercial fishermen because of its popularity on restaurant menus, has been overfished the past several years and the species needs protection to ensure its survival, federal officials said when they enacted the restrictions.
Some environmentalists back the government imposed restrictions.
"The data are sound and extensively peer reviewed by leading fishery scientists," said Holly Binns, a project manager for the Pew Environment Group. "Decisions are based on independent sampling of fish, data collected from fishermen and numerous studies by respected academic and government scientists.
She said the National Marine Fisheries Service constantly improves its scientific methods.
Read the full article Anglers Protesting Gag Grouper Ban in St. Pete on The Tampa Tribune Web site.