Following an updated population assessment that shows overfishing of Gulf of Mexico red snapper has ended and the population is rebounding, NOAA is increasing the 2012 commercial and recreational fishing catch limits for the species from 7.53 million pounds to 8.08 million pounds. The new rule takes effect June 1.
However, as the population of red snapper grows and the fish get bigger, recreational fishermen catch their quota faster, resulting in a shorter season. The 2012 recreational season will last 40 days, from June 1 through July 10.
In 2007, strict commercial and recreational management measures were used to end overfishing of red snapper and rebuild this depleted population. According to NOAA, Fishermen are now seeing the benefits of these measures, and these actions are leading to increased catches.
NOAA begins work on a new population assessment for red snapper in August. The assessment involves three workshops to gather data, assess the fish population and review the results. The workshops include fishermen as well as state, federal and academic scientists. After the review, scientists will present the results to fishery managers on the Gulf Council.
source: NOAA FishNews