NOAA increases Gulf of Mexico red snapper catch limit

30 May 2012
Red snapper. Credit: Chris 73/Wiki

Red snapper. Credit: Chris 73/Wiki

NOAA is increasing the Gulf of Mexico red snapper limit, after the latest population assessment showed that overfishing has ended and the population is rebounding.

The 2012 commercial and recreational fishing catch limits for the species will increase from 7.53 million pounds to 8.08 million pounds. The new rule takes effect on 1 June.

“Fishermen should continue to see bigger fish and larger catches as the population rebounds,” said Sam Rauch, NOAA’s acting assistant administrator for fisheries. “I commend the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and fishermen for their hard work and dedication, as red snapper truly is our most challenging fishery to manage in the Gulf.”

Fishing pressure in the mid-1900’s depleted the red snapper population. In response to the population decline, fishery managers took action, making adjustments to size limits and bag limits, and implementing a catch share program for the commercial sector.

In 2007, strict commercial and recreational management measures were used to end overfishing of red snapper and rebuild this depleted population. Fishermen are now seeing the benefits of these measures, and these actions are leading to increased catches.

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