Congressman Neal Dunn, with 11 other members of Congress who represent areas along the Gulf Coast, sent a letter to the United States Commerce Department urging officials to expand the 2017 private recreational Red Snapper season in federal waters.
Dunn, in an email to constituents, said the “three-day federal Red Snapper season is outrageous.”
The proposal would extend the season to include Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in June, July, and August, as well as July 3 and July 4, consistent with the current health and overall sustainability of the stock.
The current regulations are a hot button issue along the Gulf Coast.
Recreational anglers are planning a protest against the federal limits that they say are hurting businesses throughout the region.
AL.com reported that demonstrations are being organized in fishing ports in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi for June 4, with boat owners and captains planning to gather in marinas to show their opposition to the rule.
The demonstration will be held a day after the federal three-day fishing season ends for red snapper, one of the region’s most popular catches.
Critics argue the regulation is hurting marinas, tackle shops, and marine services companies all over the Gulf Coast.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration establishes rules each year on how many fish of different varieties can be caught in Gulf waters.
Federal regulators have said they set the strict limit this year because private anglers are expected to take 81 percent of their 3-million-pound (1.3-million-kilogram) quota out of state waters, where seasons range from 66 days off Alabama to year-round off Texas. That leaves relatively few fish to be caught farther offshore in federal waters.
Critics of the rule say federal scientists who claim that red snapper need protections fail to take into account fish that live on artificial reefs constructed by Alabama and other states.
To read more information about the 2017 announcement on Red Snapper limit, you can visit the NOAA Fisheries website here.