By JIM FOSTER
Special to the Parade
Mankind, “a general term,” must be the stupidest animal on this earth. Going along with that, the government or “big brother” (BB) must be the wisest and most all knowing.
Why else would we have laws about how fast we can drive, how we must be strapped in, what we can and cannot eat, how many bullets we may own or have in our guns, and now some jerk in New York wants to limit the size or outlaw the cokes we drink – those items alone should be proof that BB is not very smart.
As long as I can remember BB in the form of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, (GMFMC) and their equally uninformed stepchild National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has used their computer models to manage the red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico as one fishery. As the line from Forrest Gump goes, “Stupid is as stupid does.” So just how stupid is the NMFS?
The (GMFMC) voted on Feb. 8 to implement an emergency rule that would shorten the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters off the Texas coast to as few as 11 days from the planned 27-day season. In contrast, the department allows snapper fishing in state waters 365 days a year.
“While the proposed shortened season would have no apparent conservation benefit, it would definitely have an economic impact,” said Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW) Executive Director Carter Smith. “We estimate that a 27-day season would generate at least $28 million from recreational fishermen, while an 11-day season would cut that figure by at least $17 million in lost retail sales.”
Local red-snapper boats are not looking forward to the new federal laws and have made their voices known on the national as well as the state level. The TPW Commissioners were aghast when they were briefed on the proposed changes and said they were concerned, to say the least.
A long-time snapper boat Captain is not happy with the federal way of managing the fisheries by computer and not boots on the ground. “I do doubt that any of the feds have ever stepped on a snapper boat,” said the Captain.
With much of the winter season anglers going out for red snapper as well as the summer and spring fishermen, Texas would be well advised to have someone get through to the feds that what they are doing is not even close to the way it actually is. And, we haven’t even looked at what they are doing to the Texas shrimpers.
To see more of Jim’s writing and photography, visit fosteroutdoors.smugmug.com. If you have comments or news for Jim Foster, email him at email@example.com.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the South Padre Parade, the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, and the San Benito News.