Red Snapper Population Set for Rebound | Environment

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Red Snapper Population Set for Rebound

Holly Binns, manager of the Pew Environment Group's Campaign to End Overfishing in the Southeast, issued the following statement today in response to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke’s final approval of the South Atlantic red snapper recovery plan, Amendment 17A.

“This plan puts South Atlantic red snapper on the right track for recovery, and it is long overdue. This iconic species has been fished at unsustainable rates for decades, and this decisive action is required now to save it.

“A new red snapper population study is still ongoing, and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council could adjust the recovery plan based on the findings at its December meeting in North Carolina.  Scientists have listened to fishermen, incorporated their feedback and made several significant changes to the study to address their concerns.

“The good news is that according to initial findings from the current study, additional information supplied by fishermen shows that fewer red snapper may be caught and killed accidentally when other deep-dwelling species are targeted. That finding could mean a smaller ocean area closed to all bottom fishing–a part of the recovery plan designed to protect unintentionally caught red snapper, which often die even after fishermen throw them back.

“The bad news is the overall plight of red snapper does not appear to have changed. The newest information shows that the species remains at critically low population levels and is in urgent need of protection.”

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