Skip to main content

Gulf Red Snapper Sector Separation Opposed by Sportfishing Industry

Industry leaders voice serious concerns about the future implications for saltwater fisheries management.

Gulf Red Snapper Sector Separation Opposed by Sportfishing Industry
(Photo courtesy Kelly Jordon, MLF pro angler)
 (Photo courtesy Kelly Jordon, MLF pro angler)

(Photo courtesy Kelly Jordon, MLF pro angler)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Council recently voted 10-7 to approve Amendment 40, also known as sector separation, which would divide the recreational red snapper quota between individual recreational fishermen and charter/for-hire captains.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is strongly opposed to sector separation and is deeply troubled that this poorly conceived and detrimental plan was passed by the Gulf Council. In its 2013 position paper on sector separation, ASA urged federal fishery managers to remove saltwater recreational sector separation from all management plan discussions. ASA believes that sector separation will create serious conflicts between private anglers and charter/for-hire captains, and further diminish recreational fishing opportunities for red snapper.

“While we understand the charter/for-hire position, we in the tackle industry don’t see Amendment 40 as being in the best interests of the entire recreational fishing community,” said Gary Zurn, Big Rock Sports SVP of Marketing. “The economic impacts of sector separation have not been clearly determined, but we know it will have a significant financial impact on the coastal communities and businesses throughout the Gulf region that support recreational fishing.”


Earlier this year, a landmark report produced by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management presented a new paradigm for conserving marine fishing resources while producing the full range of saltwater recreational fishing’s economic, social and conservation benefits. A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries outlines the nation’s most important recreational fisheries management issues and is intended to help guide federal policy decisions.


“The reason Maverick Boats President Scott Deal and I initiated the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management was because we were concerned about the increasing number of saltwater fisheries management decisions that are limiting anglers’ ability to enjoy time on the water,” said Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO John Morris and the commission’s co-chair along with Deal. “We need everyone involved in saltwater fisheries management, including that of Gulf red snapper, to come together and collectively work to realize the commission’s vision.”

“The commission’s vision for managing our nation’s saltwater fisheries is based on conservation, economics and public access,” said Deal. “The idea of sector separation is in direct contrast with the commission’s vision. This move is not based in sound science or good economics. It is an effort to band aid a poor federal fisheries management system needing major surgery.”

A small glimmer of hope for the future of recreational management of Gulf red snapper was provided by a last minute attachment to Amendment 40 that requires a three year “sunset,” which means that unless the Council takes action to continue sector separation it will expire after three years. This provision was introduced into the discussion once it became evident that the permanent sector separation proposal had the votes within the Council for passage.

While sector separation is now scheduled to go into effect for up to the next three years, the sunset provision stops any forward movement on bringing catch shares into the temporarily separated recreational sectors and prevents a permanent implementation strategy.


In addition, the five Gulf states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida) agreed on a path forward for regional management (formally known as Amendment 39) that would give each state control over the recreational fishery off their coast, in both state and federal waters, in a way that better meets the needs of the recreational fishing community.

“The most important and valuable action at the Council level for the sportfishing industry is to support the states’ efforts to develop a regional management plan as quickly as possible and to help ensure that it be implemented prior to the sunset of sector separation,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman.

The states’ big stumbling block was how to divide the allowable catch among the states. However, the states agreed to an allocation formula during the meeting, as well as a timing strategy for implementation. This gives the Gulf states a strong incentive to agree upon a regional management structure by the time sector separation expires.


The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice, speaking out on behalf of sportfishing and boating industries, state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups and outdoor journalists when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring social, economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 60 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through KeepAmericaFishing™, our angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate over $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lew

Lew's KVD Rods

As the king of bass fishing says, this new lineup of rods from Lew's—which features the distinctive KVD color scheme—is the most comprehensive lineup of rods ever produced by a single company.

Tackle Test 2020: Postcards from Mexico

Tackle Test 2020: Postcards from Mexico

A behind-the-scenes look at our bass-fishing gear reviews from Lake Picachos.

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

Stripping a reel and adding fresh line is a breeze if you know the drill—literally.

Portable Hornady Rapid Safes - Security on the Water

Portable Hornady Rapid Safes - Security on the Water

Hornady Security has a new line of portable safes with applications for anglers who want to have a firearm on board their boats, just in case.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow Hunting How-To

6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow

Jace Bauserman - August 27, 2020

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.12 Great Catfish Baits Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

All sides must have something to offer to make it work.Fishing Buddies: It Has to Be Give-and-Take Stories

Fishing Buddies: It Has to Be Give-and-Take

Jeff Johnston - June 18, 2020

All sides must have something to offer to make it work.

As the official zone maps of Pool 8 were handed out for the Championship Round of the 2016 Summit Cup on the Mississippi River, the six finalists scoured the maps like scratch-off lottery tickets, hoping their numbers would come up big.Past Experience Squashed by Fishing Zone Boundaries for Championship Stories

Past Experience Squashed by Fishing Zone Boundaries for Championship

Rob Newell, MajorLeagueFishing.com

As the official zone maps of Pool 8 were handed out for the Championship Round of the 2016...

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day Other Freshwater

240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day

Lynn Burkhead - June 22, 2020

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends Stories

Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends

Tory Mansfield - April 10, 2020

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now