Day 2 and 3 of the Gulf Council Meeting – the Final Vote

And the Council says…

ken-at-podium-Gulf-Council-300x225The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Council met this morning to deliberate and vote on Amendment 40, also known as “sector separation,” which would divide the recreational red snapper quota between individual recreational fishermen and charter/for-hire captains. The room was filled with environmental groups, state agencies, charter boat industry representatives and recreational angling representatives.

Ultimately, the Council voted yes to Amendment 40.

This could drastically reduce the amount of days private anglers will have to fish red snapper. However, a small glimmer of hope was provided by the addition of a “sunset provision” that will allow the program to be revisited in three years. This gives the recreational fishing community and the state fishing and wildlife agencies an opportunity in the meantime to develop an alternative management approach, such as allowing “regional management” where each state manages recreational catch in both state and federal waters.

During the previous day, public comments were accepted for about five hours. Close to one hundred people got up and spoke about red snapper and Amendment 40. Of those one hundred people, sixteen spoke for the private recreational angler. The others spoke as charter boat owners or commercial fishermen.

“If the private angler was concerned they would have come to the podium and spoken up all summer – but they didn’t and they weren’t at these meetings. They don’t care.”

This was a quote from one of the charter boat captains speaking last night. While I don’t entirely agree, as many anglers have participated in this process, on the whole recreational anglers were not as well represented at meetings throughout the Gulf of Mexico this summer as were commercial fishermen and environmental organizations. Moving forward KeepAmericaFishing will do everything we can to give private anglers a voice, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to attend these meetings and speak up for your right to fish.