Agency Plans to Extend|Red Snapper Fishing Ban

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The National Marine Fisheries Service plans to extend the total ban of red snapper fishing from southern Georgia to the central east coast of Florida, established in 2008, to December 2011.

     The extension is part of a rebuilding plan, set up by the NMFS and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, to rehabilitate the species, which the council has determined has been overfished to the extent that the population is in danger of collapse.
     Because the red snapper is part of a multi-species fishery, separation of the red snapper from other species is difficult, with a 90 per cent mortality rate. So, the harvest ban will be extended to all snapper-grouper species in the closure area.
     The rebuilding plan for the snapper is based on a 35-year time line, with complete sustainable recovery by 2044. The NMFS believes that after rebuilding, the fishery will be able to continue sustainably at 40 percent of previous catch levels.
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