December 3, 2015
Jones asks for answers on south Atlantic red snapper closure
Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., is standing up for fishermen in eastern
North Carolina and throughout the southeast and demanding answers on
the National Marine Fisheries Service’s closure of the South Atlantic
red snapper fishery to commercial and recreational harvest in 2015.
The decision was announced in June of this year by the South Atlantic
Regional Office of NMFS. In a letter to NMFS Southeast Regional
Director, Dr. Roy Crabtree, Jones raised a number of specific questions
about the decision and the science, or lack thereof, behind it.
Those questions include:
NMFS decision to keep the South Atlantic red snapper fishery closed for
2015 is a textbook example of the shortcomings of federal fisheries
management at the current time,” said Jones.
the agency could justify closing a fishery based on illogical data
which estimated that total removal of South Atlantic red snapper in the
extremely abbreviated 2014 fishing year was nearly three times the
estimated removal for the full fishing year in 2013, and was similar to
the average annual catch estimates for the period of 1992 to 2009 when
fishing occurred year round?
the agency has waited six years to update its last stock assessment on
the species, a stock assessment that was highly controversial from the
- What the agency has done to address the widely known flaws in both the quantity and quality of the data on this species?
the agency’s Southeast Science Center has apparently rebuffed
fishermen’s efforts to conduct fisheries dependent and independent
research to augment poor data in the South Atlantic red snapper stock
“Everyone acknowledges the data is poor, and has been for quite some
time," he said. "But rather than taking steps to improve it years
ago, either in-house or through cooperative research, little was
done. And who suffers? Not the agency, but the fishermen who pay
the taxes to support the agency. It’s unacceptable, and the
agency needs to provide some answers on how they’re going to make it
Click here to read the letter.