By Fran Thompson
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed a new rule to increase the annual catch limits and annual catch targets for the Red Snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
Under the proposed rule, the total catch limit for recreational Red Snapper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico would increase from 6.7 million pounds to 7.4 million pounds.
In 2017, Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne worked with Senator Richard Shelby and other Gulf Coast congressmen to secure a full Red Snapper season for Alabama’s recreational fishermen.
Although total catch limits were reached before the end of the season this year, the full 47 day season has already been approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service for 2019.
Through Jan. 3 2019, the NOAA Fisheries is requesting public comment on the proposed rule. Comments may be submitted online or by mail to Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
“This increase shows exactly what those of us on the Gulf Coast have known for years: the health of the Red Snapper fishery is incredibly strong,’’ Byrne said. “These latest numbers will further drive us to continue fighting for greater state control over the Red Snapper fishery and a full and adequate Red Snapper fishing season.” s
Byrne said the extended season is huge for our local fishermen and Alabama’s coastal communities.
Our coastal communities will benefit from increased revenue. It is a win-win situation for coastal Alabama. This is how government should work,’’ Byrne said.