NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Recreational fishermen across the Gulf Coast will only have three days to fish for red snapper in federal waters this summer.
The government announced the shortened season Tuesday.
"The 2017 Gulf of Mexico federal red snapper recreational seasons open for the private angling and federally permitted for-hire components on June 1, 2017, at 12:01 a.m., local time," reads a statement on the web site of the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office. "The private angler component season will be 3 days and the federally permitted for-hire component season will be 49 days in federal waters."
This comes on the heels of our "Hooked Up" investigative series. We showed how a handful of commercial fishermen earn millions of dollars off red snapper without ever fishing. At the same time, the government has significantly reduced the amount of time recreational fishermen can spend in federal waters.
"In 2016, the total recreational quota was exceeded by 129,906 pounds," reads NOAA's statement. "The private angling quota was also exceeded."
"This is something that is completely indefensible," says Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.). "You take a state like Louisiana. Our tourism, our economy, our culture [are] based on enjoying the bounty of the Gulf of Mexico - 'Sportsman's Paradise'. And we're unable to do it. So, it's absolutely infuriating.
"A lot of the background on this was prepared under the previous administration," Graves continued. "But I want to be clear: This is something [President Donald] Trump needs to fix."
Graves says he hopes to introduce legislation soon that could essentially strip the federal government's control of the fishery.