Feds Approve Red Snapper Quota Cuts
The National Marine Fisheries Service this week approved a cut in the commercial and recreational Gulf of Mexico red snapper quota, from 6.5 million pounds in 2007 to 5 million pounds this year. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council proposed the cut last June to protect ailing red snapper stocks from overfishing.
The commercial red snapper quota is set at 2.55 million pounds in 2008, down from 3.315 million pounds last year. Last March, the council enacted an interim measure slashing the commercial and recreational red snapper quota from 9.12 million pounds to 6.5 million pounds.
This is the first year that the red snapper fishery is operating under the individual fishing quota (IFQ) management system, by which fishermen are allotted a share of the total quota based on how much fish they've landed historically.
A victim of bycatch by shrimp trawlers and other fishing vessels, red snapper has been deemed overfished since 1989 by NMFS, which has implemented numerous measures over the years to help replenish stocks.
Currently, availability of both domestic and imported snapper is lean.
"The pipeline for snapper is hollow," one importer told SeaFood Business earlier this month. "Amount is very, very minimal."
However, "as the pipelines get filled," he said, "cost will go down."
At New York's Fulton Fish Market this morning, gutted red snapper commanded $6.25 to $6.50 a pound for 1- to 2-pound and 2- to 4-pound whole fish.