Coast anglers angry over short Federal Red Snapper season

Red snapper caught off the Mississippi Coast
Red snapper caught off the Mississippi Coast Sun Herald file

Several Coast anglers are upset about the shortest federal red snapper season in history.

The season starts at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and ends 12:01 a.m. Sunday. The Associated Press is reporting demonstrations are being organized at fishing ports in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi with boat owners and captains on Sunday.

Federal regulators believe the tight limit is needed to protect the fish, but anglers disagree. They accuse scientists of using flawed science to set the rule. The Red snapper season in state waters started May 26 and concludes at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 4.

“The poor federal management has necessitated the state to take action,” CCA Mississippi Government Relations Committee chairman F.J. Eicke said. “The real problem is that it’s messed up from top to bottom. The three day season is ridiculous.”

Earlier this month, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources executive director Jamie Miller told the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy and Environment in Washington, D.C. that the largest management issue with Red Snapper is within the recreational sector.

“These conditions created by the current management system have led to derby seasons, which have frustrated the private anglers and forced them to fish offshore in less favorable and sometimes dangerous conditions,” Miller said in a release.

Gorenflo’s Cobia Tournament Director Danny Pitalo opposes the shortened season.

“I don’t understand why they would do it,” Pitalo said. “Everybody can’t fish for red snapper in those three days. It’s hard to make those days work. If they were going to do red snapper season for three days, it should’ve opened Memorial Day weekend where people are off and can go fishing.”

Jay Trochesset, captain of the Silver Dollar III charter boat service in Biloxi, says the red snapper numbers are misleading from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

“I believe the Gulf Council has inaccurate data on red snapper,” Trochesset said. “There’s more red snapper available.”

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones