Red Snapper Closed
Well we’ve been anxiously awaiting the “official word” from NOAA and their “experts”. They’ve officially declared it a no go for red snapper fishing for the East Coast. That includes commercial and recreational fishing.
They say that in 2015 we caught too many red snapper, so none for 2016, despite the fact that there was no 2015 season either for the same reason in 2014 when anglers were allowed 9 days in the Atlantic.
How can this be you ask? Its the beauty of statistics; you pretty much make them say whatever you want and NOAA wants no fishing, therefore NOAA and their pet scientists assume that the release and mortality rates of our red snapper bycatch is killing more than the allowed quota of red snapper.
How do they figure this number Thats a great question! How did they get their starting numbers? Using B.S. of course!
Yes that’s right, I’m calling B.S. on how they determined populations of red snapper from the very beginning and for the limited surveys afterwards. I’m not alone, for anyone who has been fishing will agree that red snapper are so thick, you can hardly catch much else. I also know that when surveys were done to establish population numbers, NOAA and said pet scientists chartered local boats, but insisted on using a list of GPS numbers that they generated from who knows what. They used a standard rig, that was gawdy as hell and then stood there, fishing out in the sand catching no snapper. The captains would offer to take the surveyors to a nearby piece of structure (where red snapper live) and let them catch all they wanted, but no was the answer. To maintain scientific legitimacy, they had to fish these “numbers” and use these rigs. So they spent the day avoiding the fish and came home to report that red snapper numbers were totally collapsed in comparison to the days of old.
How do they know how many were out there in days of old?
That’s a great question too, so let’s break out some more creative statistics. First you scrounge around for any old data or trip tickets from the old days. They you do some math mumbo jumbo, make some creatively slanted assumptions and bingo; you have the red snapper population from the 1940’s. I wish I was making this up, but that is my understanding of how we got here. I could be wrong too, but I’m fairly certain that snapper populations were steadily on the rise the day they closed it and now they are thick as fleas.
Now don’t take this wrong, I’m all for the conservation of red snapper and would have been perfectly fine with taking a multitude of more moderate measures like seasonal closures, increased size limits or reduced bag limits. There were so many options that could have been taken to continue or increase the successful climb of snapper populations that were already the results of former snapper management.
What we got was the all out closure and subsequent “snapper derby” days, where the opening of a few days created a snapper rush that rivaled that scene in Jaws were everyone loaded up bows and arrows and dynamite to claim the reward.
So don’t give up the fight, write your lawmakers and support one or more of the many organizations that are fighting for your access to public fishing. That is really the best avenue to fight the loss of common sense in fish management in my opinion.