By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, February 20, 2017, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) cited recent State Red Snapper numbers to discredit the smaller estimates used by the Federal government for management of the Red Snapper fisheries. Alabama District 118.
Just another example of the horrible job the Federal government is doing when it comes to managing Red Snapper fishing in the Gulf. It is clear the Gulf states have better methods for monitoring Red Snapper fishing. This why I continue to work with colleagues in Washington to give more power over Red Snapper fishing to the Gulf states.
In the 2016 report by the State, there was an obvious difference in opinion between Alabama and the Federal government when it came to the harvest projections. Alabama Wildlife Officials claim that 1.5 million pounds of Red Snapper were landed between charter boats and recreational fishermen. On the other hand, the Federal government said 2.7 million pounds of snapper were landed in Alabama in 2016.
The Federal government’s harvest numbers come from the NOAA Fisheries’ survey program and Alabama officials claim that their numbers have been wrong for the last the three years.
Recreational fishing is a huge tourist attraction in Alabama. One of the most popular saltwater fish species is Red Snapper. The Federal government regulates how many can be legally be put on a boat. Commercial fisherman successfully argued with Federal Fishery officials that recreational fisherman have exceeded their collective quota. They have punished recreational fishermen for the last several season by limiting the amount of days that a recreational fisherman can fish to just 9 days this year. Outside of that nine day season any caught by a recreational fisherman must be released back to the ocean. This has been especially hard on the charter boat captains.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.
(Original reporting by Mobile’s WKRG TV contributed to this report)