Alexandria, VA, October 29, 2014, The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Council voted 10-7 to approve Amendment 40, sector separation. Amendment 40 divides the recreational quota between individual recreational fishermen and for-hire operators with a valid or renewable federal reef fish for-hire permit.
Amendment 40 establishes separate Red Snapper season closure provisions for the federal for-hire and private angling components. As such the private recreational 2020 American Red Snapper season is 45 days beginning June 11 and ending July 25. The vessels with federal for-hire reef fishing permits is 62 days in federal Gulf of Mexico waters Beginning June 1 and closing August 2.
The Red Snapper total 2020 non commercial quota is 7,339,000 pounds whole weight. 57.7% is allowed for the recreational sector and 42.3% for the for-hire, with federal reef permit holders.
The American Sportsfishing Association, as well as Hubbard's Marina, are strongly opposed to sector separation. Why? Because sector separation will, in all probability, create serious conflicts between private anglers and charter/for-hire captains, and further diminish recreational fishing for Red Snapper. Equal access of the ARS quota, 7,339,000 pounds, for one & all is in the best interest of our fishery. On the other hand the Charter Fisherman's Association supports Amendment 40 stating that sector separation provides an opportunity to explore new management choices for all recreational fishermen.
In 2020 this "new management choices" resulted in a private recreational ARS season of 45 days, and 62 days for the federal for hire permitted vessels. This is just not acceptable.
Unfortunately, due to competition, for-hire operators with a valid or renewable federal reef fish for-hire permit are all but forced to fish for Red Snapper the entire 62 days.
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