Holly Binns, Project Manager for the Pew Environment Group's Campaign to End Overfishing in the Southeast, issued the following statement today about the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's vote to change state fishing rules so the current mid-April through October red snapper fishing season in state waters is consistent with federal rules and the June through September season in federal waters.
“Healthy, productive fisheries are an important component of the economy for communities up and down the Florida coast. Today's vote is a key step toward ensuring the long-term sustainability of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. After twenty years of chronic overfishing, fishery managers enacted science-based limits to reduce the amount of red snapper that could be caught in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time last year. Today, charter boat captains, local elected officials and conservation groups all urged the FWC to work in partnership with federal fishery managers by enacting consistent rules for red snapper in state waters off the Florida coast.
“Yet more needs to be done to ensure the future viability of the red snapper population in the Gulf. Historically, vast numbers of young red snapper have been caught and killed by shrimp trawls, and fishery managers will need to be vigilant to ensure that recently enacted measures to reduce this bycatch are effective. Improved monitoring and accountability measures are also needed to ensure that fishing limits are not exceeded.
“Today's vote by the FWC to harmonize the state and federal red snapper season is an example of the kind of cooperation between state and federal managers and by fishermen and conservationists that we need to end overfishing.”
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.