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Rubio, Nelson Call for Flexibility, Reliable Data for 2017 Red Snapper Fishing Season
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today expressed concern over the recently announced 2017 Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishing season, urging National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Acting Administrator Benjamin Friedman to ensure all available data is considered to ensure fishermen are afforded the maximum amount of time on the water.
“According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the 2017 Gulf of Mexico red snapper federal season will be limited to just three days for recreational fishermen and 49 days for charter fishermen,” states the senators’ letter. “Once again, we ask that you consider incorporating all available reliable data to ensure anglers can safely fish for an appropriate season, which contributes valuable tourism revenue to coastal economies and ensures access to this public resource.”
The full text of the senators’ letter is below.
May 4, 2017
Mr. Benjamin Friedman
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Acting Administrator Friedman,
We are writing regarding this week’s announcement that the 2017 Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishing season will be nearly a week shorter than last year’s season. For the anglers, boat captains, and related industries dependent on access to this fishery, this is deeply concerning.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the 2017 Gulf of Mexico red snapper federal season will be limited to just three days for recreational fishermen and 49 days for charter fishermen. We also understand that NMFS is likely to keep the South Atlantic closed for another season as well.
In years past, we have raised concern that setting a rigid fishing season of consecutive days may put anglers in harm’s way due to Florida’s unpredictable and frequent summer storms. We continue to believe that allowing more flexibility in the season to accommodate dangerous weather would help fishermen avoid hazardous conditions.
Once again, we ask that you consider incorporating all available reliable data to ensure anglers can safely fish for an appropriate season, which contributes valuable tourism revenue to coastal economies and ensures access to this public resource.