There are more questions than answers as for the fate of this year's red snapper fishing season that's set to start June 1st in the Gulf of Mexico. It's already set to be the shortest ever at just 27 days, but it appears not even that number is certain.
"We have private anglers that do not want to go out because they don't want to pay that much in fuel to go out and catch one or two red snapper when they know how many are out there," said Captain Anderson's Marina Operations Manager Pam Anderson.
This season's status hinges on whether the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission decides to abide by the regulations set forth by the federal government. IF FWC officials opt to regulate on their own, some fishermen fear federal waters beyond 9 miles from shore could be closed altogether this year for red snapper.
And adding to the stress levels of red snapper fans is a federal mandate to remove old abandoned oil and gas rigs from the Gulf. The explosive demolitions have reportedly killed thousands of fish, most of those red snapper.
All eyes will be on Orlando this week where FWC officials are expected to discuss this year's red snapper fishing season. A fish count should also come out in April. And fishermen won't be the only ones who will be watching and waiting. Restaurants, hotels, and other coastal businesses also depend on the red snapper fishing season.
"It's time for Florida to step up and do something about this," Anderson said.