I chose this bit of news about sustainable Red Snapper fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico because it demonstrates the challenges of managing a recovering fish in a multi-state, long-range fisheries management. The information is presented in an understandable, easily-readable format. There are historical, current, as well as options for the future provided for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper fisheries.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t agreement between each of the state’s on the level of fishing allowed within their designated state waters. This imbalance resulted in the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) setting more stringent regulations in the federal water’s specifically outside those states unwilling to cooperate.
Interestingly, although the number of fish has significantly increased, fishing will continue to be reduced until the female Red Snapper are allowed to reach their peak productive years. Also of interest, the season must be shortened because the fish, on average, weigh twice as much as before and are more plentiful, so the allowable pounds of fish are caught quicker.
Although NOAA ultimately determines the regulations for the federal waters, the Gulf Council, engages state and federal fishery managers, working together, while also allowing the public to participate, and engaging regional stakeholders on fishery issues. All the parties work together to find a way forward in the cooperative spirit that the council process promotes.