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Why new report on red snapper is good news for US anglers

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Anglers should be able to benefit from a groundbreaking report into the population of the heavily-regulated red snapper – a fish that enjoys an almost godlike status among fishermen – in the Gulf of Mexico.

New findings of the Great Red Snapper Count has revealed that there are up to three times as many red snappers in the region than previously thought. The state-of-the-art study was funded through a $10m Congressional grant and backed by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the industry representative body for the angling industry. Over a two-year period scientists used a comprehensive suite of methods and found that approximately two-thirds of fish were found in areas which have not historically been sampled.

“The Great Snapper Count results validate what the recreational fishing community has long said – that there are a lot more of the species in the Gulf than has been reflected in recent stock assessments,” said Kellie Ralston, the ASA’s Southeast Fisheries Policy Director. “We are grateful for the excellent scientific work by the Harte Research Institute and its partners, as well as Senator Richard Shelby for recognising the need to fund such a ground-breaking study.”

The ASA has called for these results to be incorporated into red snapper management in the future. It is urging NOAA Fisheries to fully integrate the Great Red Snapper Count findings to develop new catch estimates that provide enhanced and sustained angler access to this iconic species.

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