Keep red snapper on rebound
Red snapper is a much-sought-after target for recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico — a highly delicious species that is also fun to catch. Unfortunately, this species had been fished at levels greater than it could reproduce in the past, and its numbers decreased as a result. With stricter catch limits over the past few years, the snapper population is beginning to come back. We are not at the rebuilt level yet, but if we keep to the plan, all will benefit from a recovered population. Catching fewer individual fish allows more fish to grow larger, which creates better spawners. Indeed, a single 24-inch red snapper can produce as many eggs as approximately 212 17-inch snapper can. In 2008, most snapper brought home by anglers were 2 to 3 years of age. Four years later, the typical fish caught is 5 to 7 years of age, with more reaching 10 years and older. The older females are much more productive to help rebuild the population Gulfwide.Let's keep rebuilding this critical and popular species. Stricter rules now will make for a much brighter fishing future for ourselves and our children. Ann Vanek-Dasovich Tampa
The writer is a member of the board of directors of the Florida Wildlife Federation.