Great Red Snapper Count provides hope for charter fishing industry
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - There are 110 million red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Great Red Snapper Count conducted by the Harte Institute at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi.
The new estimate are a stark contrast from previous estimates by NOAA, which suggested the population could be as low as 36 million throughout the Gulf. That number had long been debated by fishermen and private angler organizations, who claimed the low estimates stemmed from a lack of accurate science, according to Pam Anderson, Operations Manager for Captain Anderson’s Marina in Panama City Beach.
Now, however, the new count has put one thought in the mind of charter fishermen and anglers throughout the Gulf Coast.
“Thank the Lord,” Anderson said. “We’ve been waiting for this for around 10 years.”
While sustainability and responsible fishing practices are still essential to maintaining the health of the red snapper population, snapper fishing is a major driver of the economy throughout the Panhandle. The hope is that conversations can soon be had about the length of future snapper seasons, as well as bag limits.
“Our hope in the future is that they extend the season,” Anderson said. “We have worked very hard over the last 10, 15 years to make this happen, to get a real count of red snapper.”
Anderson also hopes that similar counts can also be done for other popular fish species across the Gulf Coast.
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