Fisheries

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RED SNAPPER DILEMMA

Sometimes people have a devastating effect on the fisheries. Take the red snapper fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, for example. A recent study (" Consolidated Report on the Peer Review of Red Snapper" ) released in December of 1997 revealed that the fishery is severely overfished and bycatch, the fish that are harvested by a fishery, but not sold or kept for personal use, are two major problems. It was recommended that the total allowable catch be reduced until recovery of the Red Snapper was sufficient.

red Snapper

Lutjanus campechanus, or the Red Snapper

Bycatch was singled out as the most important cause of death for the red snapper. Shrimpers cause much of the damage. They catch far more fish than shrimp. Then they throw the dead fish back in the ocean. Bycatch reduction devices are being made mandatory for shrimpers, but tempers and emotions are rising over the issue. Some shrimpers resent such regulation and control even when they are aware that it will help stop the increase in the for shrimpers of red snapper.

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