Anglers enjoy reprieve on red snapper fishing ban
Ponce Inlet, FL, United States (4E Sports) – After two years, anglers have rediscovered the joys of fishing red snapper once again after they were given two three-day weekend reprieve of a federal order that prohibits catching the deep-sea delicacy.
“Fishing is always fun — catch or no catch — but, of course, it is better when you catch them,” said Bob Klingele, a retiree who took the trip to take advantage of the rare chance to catch a snapper.
The first of two three-day weekend reprieve for recreational fishermen started Friday and is scheduled to continue from Sept. 21 to 23.
Federal officials had banned fishing the favorite deep-sea delicacy since January 2010 based on a scientific report finding the population was overfished.
The report said an open ended ban was declared necessary to help the population rebuild, a finding that was contested by captains and veteran anglers.
The ban has devastated the local fishing industry that was already hit hard by poor economy and high price of diesel.
“We had to sell one head boat because there wasn’t enough business,” said Lee Carver, captain of Critter Fleet. “People are not going to spend the money for a trip if they can’t keep the fish. It’s no fun if you can’t keep anything.”
The Critter Fleet has 42 passengers aboard his boat Friday who were all eager to catch red snapper. Next weekend, Carver said more than 60 people have already booked a fishing trip.
“Recreational fishing with responsible limits doesn’t hurt our oceans and it is a vital part of our economy,” said Dan Davis, who caught the biggest snapper — a 15-pounder that was more than two feet long.
Presently, researchers are collecting crucial information to determine whether the ban on red snapper fishing could be lifted.