In response to Bill Sargent’s guest column (“Red snapper: Here’s the bottom line,” The Daily News, Nov. 1): I am amazed that after all the research he has done on the recreational snapper issue, Sargent thinks that the commercial snapper fishery has anything to do with the short recreational snapper seasons?

The recreational snapper fishery and the commercial snapper fishery are two distinctly different fisheries.

The commercial federal snapper fishery is controlled and enforced under an Individual Fishing Quota program. This system mandates 100 percent accountability and real-time data. There is a “royalty” or “tax” of 3 percent of each IFQ shareholders gross catch. Of course, there’s always that other federal tax on income. The size limit on snapper has been reduced to only 13 inches to drastically reduce throw backs.

The recreational fishery for federal snapper, on the other hand, needs an accountable, sustainable system, that can produce real-time data.

Why do national recreational groups think that hurting the commercial sector, or using conservation-based quotas is a bad idea, while claiming to be conservation based?

But for some reason, the recreational problem always turns into a recreational versus commercial thing. Why?

Could the gulf states manage snapper in federal waters better that the feds? Think about that. Even when there was a very real snapper shortage years ago, the State of Texas allowed their state waters to remain open 365-days a year with twice the federal limit, allowing four snappers per day, and still refuse to close state waters when the federal waters are closed. Is that really considered a good track record?

Part of the state plan is for the states to manage the commercial sector too. Again. Why? What does the commercial sector have to do with the short recreational season?

Bill Cochrane Sr. lives in Galveston.

Locations

(9) comments

Curtiss Brown

OK, now I am totally confused?

Bill Cochrane

Curtis,
The snapper fishery is divided equally between the recreational sector and the commercial sector. The commercial sector has their own federally run system. The recreational does not. The recreational and commercial sectors have nothing to do with each other. But the recreational fishermen want more days to fish, so they blame the commercial fisherman. That part is confusing to me too. It makes no sense for Sargent to even mention the commercial fishing sector in complaining about recreational short seasons. When he tries to compare the two sectors, it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

David Doe

I TOTALLY Disagree. Recreational fishing in No way can account for the Massive amounts of fish taken by Commercial fishermen. We now have commercial fishermen selling off their quotas to local charter boats. We also have a massive kill-off by charter boats that take 100 people out and if it's Not during the "Snapper" season have to throw the fish back, which all Die as a result. This isn't the recreational fishermen doing this. Let's divide ALL the snapper taken in the year and give a 50/50 percentage to recreational and commercial. That will never happen, but giving the recreational guy 3 days to fish is an Absolute Joke, and we all know it.
Recreational fishermen typically don't have large boats and can only go out during favorable conditions, so when you have a one weekend as a season and SW winds of 20 knots and seas of 6 ft, there went the season.

Mark Aaron

Bill: [But for some reason, the recreational problem always turns into a recreational versus commercial thing. Why?]

From a sportsman's perspective we see "one person" taking thousands of fish while we only get a few. We are all fishing from the same pool of fish. It is hard not to see the commercial fisherman as taking far more than they deserve.

Bill Cochrane

Mark, like I have been saying. We are not all fishing from the same pool. Recreational are fishing from the recreational pool. Commercials are fishing from the commercial pool. The snapper fishery is split in two separate sectors. Simply.

Bill Cochrane

David - I think the best way to answer is to take each of your remarks and try to educate you and others. But you can always google – NMFS red snapper seasons.
“Recreational fishing in No way can account for the Massive amounts of fish taken by Commercial fishermen.”
You are correct. I never said that. I repeat. Recreational and commercial have their own fishery.
“We now have commercial fishermen selling off their quotas to local charter boats.”
Yes, and this allows recreational fishermen on charter boats more access to red snapper. You need to understand that charter boats are recreational fishermen. I would think you would be all for this practice? By the way, as a “federal public resource” red snapper should be enjoyed by everyone. Not just the boat owners on the gulf coast.
“We also have a massive kill-off by charter boats that take 100 people out and if it's Not during the "Snapper" season have to throw the fish back, which all Die as a result. This isn't the recreational fishermen doing this.”
Again. Charter boats take recreational fishermen out to fish, so, yeah it is the recreationals doing this.
“Let's divide ALL the snapper taken in the year and give a 50/50 percentage to recreational and commercial.”
Good idea. So good, in fact, that is exactly how the snapper total allowable Catch is divided. Problem is, there are hundreds of thousands of recreational fishermen taking way too many snappers throughout the Gulf.
“That will never happen, but giving the recreational guy 3 days to fish is an Absolute Joke, and we all know it.” Like I said – it does happen. The short seasons are like they are because the recreational side is so large.
“Recreational fishermen typically don't have large boats and can only go out during favorable conditions, so when you have a one weekend as a season and SW winds of 20 knots and seas of 6 ft, there went the season.” I feel for you. Why not ask CCA to fight for a sustainable snapper system for their members.

Bill Cochrane

Mark - That "one person" meaning a commercial boat - Is taking thousands of fish for the public. As in "PUBLIC" trust. You are right. Same pool. And that pool is split 50/50 between the recreational sector, and the commercial sector. Oh, I see. You don't think anyone except a recreational boat owner should be able to enjoy eating red snapper. I think I now see why it always turns into Recreational vs. commercial. Thanks.

Mark Aaron

Bill: [ Oh, I see. You don't think anyone except a recreational boat owner should be able to enjoy eating red snapper. I think I now see why it always turns into Recreational vs. commercial. Thanks.]

You don't have to get snippy, Bill. I'm just trying to explain how it feels from a sportsman's perspective. You asked. I tried to explain. I guess you really didn't want to hear after all.

Bill Cochrane

Mark, Sorry, I did not mean to sound “snippy”, but it’s frustrating when someone that doesn’t understand the snapper fishery complains about the recreational sector problems by blaming/comparing the commercial sector. Each sector is issued about 7,000,000 pounds of snapper. The commercial sector is allowed to catch their 7,000,000 pounds, under strict accountability rules. These public trust fish represent the allocation for United States residents who don’t happen to live on the coast. The recreational 7,000,000 pounds are available to non-commercial fishermen. The recreational fishermen, including charter and party boat customers number in the hundreds of thousands across the Gulf states. Simply put, since there are so many recreational fishermen it’s almost impossible to determine how many recreational snapper are being caught, thus the National Marine Fisheries Service makes the rules using the best available information. It’s just a WAG. To make it even harder to make that WAG, the Gulf states refuse to close their state waters when the federal season is closed. But like I said. The two sectors are totally separate. Heck, if it were not for the issue of the recreational side trying to take away the commercial sector’s allocation for their use, I would not be having this conversation.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.