Snap to it!
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has agreed with the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Council and has ordered Gulf waters re-opened to recreational red snapper fishing, effective Friday, Oct. 1.
The re-opening of the fishery came after NOAA ordered fishermen out of the Gulf because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April. Quotas for red snapper weren’t filled because of that closure, the Gulf Council said, and recommended that NOAA re-open fishing on a temporary basis.
Fishing will be allowed Fridays through Sundays for eight weeks, ending at midnight Sunday, Nov. 21, according to a news release from NOAA.
While charter boat captains agreed opening the fishery was good, many added that the government stumbled by taking its time in letting them know when fishing could resume.
“It would have been much better if they’d kept it on a good time line,” said Bobby Grumbles of Fisherman’s Wharf in Port Aransas.
“We’d like to have had more time to get the word out (to potential fishing clients).”
NOAA accepted comments on the Gulf Council recommendation through Aug. 21. However, the re-opening of the season wasn’t approved until Sept. 21, the NOAA news release said.
Charter boat captains said potential anglers who might have chartered boats to go after red snapper have now changed their plans, and it will be difficult to put their minds back on snapper fishing.
“We’re going to have to go after the guys who are thinking about deer hunting and get them back to thinking about snapper,” Grumbles said.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service reported that about 2.3 million pounds of the 3.4 million pound recreational red snapper quota for the Gulf of Mexico was uncaught because of the closure.