BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Anxious anglers attended the fifth and final meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Friday, June 21. Many wanted some answers, including if there will be a fall red snapper season.
Orange Beach captain Randy Boggs owns three charter boats, and like all anglers, is unhappy with the shortened season. He had hoped the meeting would lead to more time on the water for him and his customers.
"We only have 27 days, and in the future we're looking forward to a 60 to 65 day fishery," Boggs said.
He wasn't alone, agitated anglers coming from all over to see the results of the week-long meeting in Pensacola.
"It's the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, and it's just incredible that we haven't moved forward with something that's going to work," said Scott Hickman, a charter captain from Galveston, Texas.
Captain Hickman will agree this is a start.
This year's stock assessment revealed more red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico than originally thought. That could increase anglers' total allowable catch (TAC) by 25-30% and add more days to future seasons.
"I'm pretty happy that the stock assessment finally came back and showed a truer reflection of how many fish are in the gulf," Boggs said.
With an added stock of about two million pounds, a fall season appears likely.
"We're always excited about fall and we've asked for continuous days if they do anything because in the fall we see the cold fronts push through, so you get three days of windy weather, a couple days of pretty, and then a couple days of it blowing again," Boggs said. "So we certainly look forward to a continuous season rather than a weekend season, that way it doesn't put the anglers' lives at risk trying to get out there and catch red snapper when the weather is so bad."
They're not out of the woods yet, now the issue becomes will the anglers already meet their quota here in the summer season.
"Right now, it looks like we're going to have a fall season, probably very short," said council member Dr. Bob Shipp. "But that's all contingent on this current season, not catching the extra quota that's available. But the good news is, the science is finally catching up to reality."
Also reality, a possible fixed season for the next three years.
The council will hammer out more details on the fall red snapper season at a July 17 meeting in New Orleans.
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