06/10/2010 - The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council voted Wednesday to close an almost 5,000 square mile portion of the South Atlantic Coast to red snapper fishing.
The council, one of eight regional fishery management councils, had been considering a closure of the whole Atlantic coast to extend a moratorium on red snapper fishing that will end in December. Wednesday's vote will close about 4,820 miles off the coasts of Florida and Georgia from a depth of 98 to 240 feet.
The amendment, approved by the council in a 9 to 4 vote, leaves open about 1,000 miles of fishing territories off the coast of Georgia. An amendment approved in March also keeps South Carolina's coast open to fishing.
Representatives from the Pew Environmental Group's Campaign to End Overfishing in the Southeast, sent a release praising the decision Wednesday.
"The red snapper fishing moratorium and closed ocean area are essential for a species that has plummeted to just 3 percent of healthy population levels and has been fished at unsustainable rates for more than 40 years," said Holly Binns, manager of the Pew campaign. "We understand this is a difficult time for some fishermen now, but this plan will help secure future fishing opportunities and a healthy ocean ecosystem that benefit tourism and all of our coastal communities."
Read the full article, Red Snapper Fishing Limited, on The Sun News' Web site.