By Pam Anderson
A recent article by NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, states that their new Recreational Fishing Data and Survey Standards will promote data quality, consistency, and comparability across the Marine Recreational Information Program’s national network of recreational fishing surveys. The For-hire and Commercial industries have been collecting their fishing data for years and that is why their seasons, and opportunities to catch and keep more key species of fish like red snapper, have increased over time.
It feels like an infringement on our freedom or rights to limit access to a public resource with all the excessive rules. But as in many things, like hunting, there must be rules to keep these prized species abundant. We have looked to the Gulf States to implement their own data collections in recent years in an effort to compare what NOAA scientists were saying about the status of the stock. Large differences were found between State and Federal data, which has apparently caused NOAA to improve its data collection process.
Even private anglers, like us For-hire anglers who don’t like change, don’t want a data collection program to take away from the fun of the sport. We get it!
For Florida’s anglers, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has adopted the State Reef Fish Survey for saltwater anglers which is quite easy to use. For more information on saltwater fishing in Florida go to https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/. Time will tell if the new NOAA plan will work better for private anglers, but if you want to be a part of the solution, invest some time at one of the FWC meetings, giving your input on what you believe will work. As people participate together, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. One thing is for sure, though, the better the data, the more opportunities to keep your catch.
And speaking of catches… this spring we have seen great catches of Vermilion snapper and Triggerfish coming in on our 5 hr boats as well as the 6 hr, 10 hr, and charter boats. We can be thankful to all those involved in the Bay County Artificial Reef Association and the For-hire charter boat owners for placing a large number of artificial reefs in the waters offshore of Bay County. The more reefs we have, the more habitat to grow the fishery. We appreciate them giving back to the community of anglers, several out of their own pockets.
Our mornings are filled with students on Field Trips cruising out on the Capt. Anderson III to Shell Island, learning some of our history, fun boating facts, visiting Shell Island, and, of course, watching the dolphins play (my field trips were never that fun!).
It’s not too late to reserve space for Red Snapper season for 5hr, 6 hr, 10 hr, or 12 hr day trips or the 8 hr night trips – you get the bonus of a beautiful sunset and cooler temps in the evening. Early June is booking heavily, but mid-June to mid-August still has room. Reserve soon!
Capt. Max’s Bar & Grill will be open for early breakfast until late evening as will Fisherman’s Walk, with lots of extra free fun for the kids.
Come see us!
Capt. Anderson’s Marina…Where the fish are always biting and the kids are always smiling!