Save a Snapper

In the South Atlantic region of the United States, stock of species like snapper and grouper are dwindling. Red snapper government assessments from 2008 show that the species is being overfished at eight times the sustainable level. But a government plan could save 10 species.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently working on important changes to fishing rules that would strengthen limits on the numbers of fish caught annually, prohibit fishing in some areas of the ocean where imperiled fish live and limit certain kinds of fishing so populations have time to replenish themselves.

Such changes have precedent. The Pew Environment’s Holly Binns explains:

In the past, smart fishery management decisions have yielded success for both people and fish. For example, the king mackerel is a prized catch for many fishermen. But in the early 1980s, scientists knew the fish was in danger of being depleted. Based on scientific research, federal fishery managers made some highly controversial decisions. In 1985, they slashed the allowable catch from 14.4 million to 5.2 million pounds. The following year, managers imposed recreational size and bag limits.

After two decades of careful management, king mackerel have increased from a low of about 4 million fish in 1984 to 17.2 million fish in 2006. Today, the king mackerel is an example of how an overfished species can recover and support a vibrant fishing industry if managers implement science-based fish rebuilding plans.

Ending overfishing of snapper and grouper makes long-term sense from both a conservation side and an economic side. In less than 10 years, the population of red snapper would skyrocket — and with it, so could catches of the species. Scientific projections suggest that it could be as high as a 25-fold increase, from 78,000 pounds of fish in 2006 to nearly 2 million pounds by 2036. With red snapper at just 3 percent of historic levels, it’s time to take action.

The red snapper’s not the only species at risk; the speckled hind, warsaw grouper, golden tilefish, snowy grouper, black grouper, black sea bass, gag, red grouper and vermilion snapper are all at risk. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s plan would provide science-based protections for these species to ensure their depletion doesn’t become permanent.

Fishing interests will be out in force to try to stop this species preservation — so we need thousands of signatures to come in supporting the amendments! We need your signature by November 22 in order to hand-deliver it to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be included as part of the public comment period. Add your signature today!

23 comments

pierluigi bonatesta

Thanks!

Nathalie K.
Nathalie K.7 years ago

I think that we have quite a lot to eat, why we destroy for nothing

Nathalie K.
Nathalie K.7 years ago

There is quite alot to eat, why should we destroy everything

Suzy E.
leanne E.7 years ago

stop eating fish and all animals, we dont need it and we can not afford it, make no mistake, the world is dying

Dorota L.
Dorota L.7 years ago

Wouldn't stopping fish eating make all the difference too?

lynn sater
lynn sater7 years ago

It all starts with me. I am the change. We can't afford to lose any more species. Please stand with me and protect the Snappers. Together we can make change... and educate our friends and family to stop ordering endangered species. We are the problem ... we can be the cure :)

dennis c.
dennis cheah l.7 years ago

Please SAVE them.

Luciana Lemons
Luciana Lemons7 years ago

They need to "snap out of it" & stop overfishing just so they can make More money overseas trying to fill the Asian demand. They resort to the U.S. to fill their seafood quota & these U.S. Fishing Co's. aren't going to turn away money no matter what it does to our Enviroment! Restrictions need to be set & major fines need to be imposed if ignored.

Neil K.
Past Member 7 years ago

For over two decades Gulf fishery managers, whose responsibility it is to protect and sustain our fish populations, have ignored science and repeatedly set catch levels too high. As a result, the spawning population of Gulf red snapper is down to 3% of its historic abundance.


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sonia b.
sonia regina b.7 years ago

please save our friends