Holly Binns, manager of the Pew Environment Group's Campaign to End Overfishing in the Southeast, issued the following statement today in response to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's vote on the long-term red snapper recovery plan. The plan is known as Amendment 17A to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan.
“The South Atlantic Council deserves credit for taking a significant step toward putting red snapper on the road to recovery. 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.
“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.
“We'll see if the plan is on target and what adjustments may be needed to sufficiently rebuild this iconic species when a new red snapper study is completed in December.
“Our hope is that red snapper rebound rapidly and that sustainable fishing can resume when the species has made good progress towards full recovery.”