As the Gulf of Mexico red snapper allocation becomes a hot topic for both recreational and commercial fishermen, I wrote to Saving Seafood to set the record straight about Environmental Defense Fund’s work in the Gulf of Mexico and views on the issues facing fishermen. An excerpt can be found below:
“Gulf of Mexico states and their anglers are increasingly frustrated with short seasons for prized red snapper in federal waters. They have every right to be angry. The management of the recreational share of the fishery is utterly failing. This year’s projected federal season of a few weeks at best, together with large over-harvests each year, are obvious signs. The system stinks and punishes everyone including those who enjoy fishing on their own and fishermen and families who use for-hire guides to access the Gulf.
There are a lot of passionate voices advocating change. Open discussion should be respected and welcome – in fact, exploration of new ideas is the only way to get closer to solutions. Unfortunately, the gossip and finger-pointing simply diverts attention from important issues and does nothing to help.
I am proud of the partnerships between Environmental Defense Fund and fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. I am convinced that cooperation between conservationists, fishermen and government are critical to the long term health of the Gulf. I am also convinced that the progress of commercial red snapper management towards rebuilding the fish population and sustained financial viability is vital to success.”