Byrne touts study showing ‘up to three times as many’ red snapper in Gulf than previously thought
A scientist in the federal government on Thursday summarized preliminary findings of the Great Red Snapper Count that indicate the famous fish species is much more numerous than previously believed.
U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) said in a statement that the data indicates Alabama “can increase opportunities for snapper fishermen without danger to the health of our fishery.”
Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District in the southwest corner of the state, which includes all of Alabama’s coastline.
The preliminary data from the Great Red Snapper Count was summarized by Chris Oliver, a fisheries assistant administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“[B]ased on this study, there are more red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico than previously thought, possibly up to three times as many,” Oliver wrote on Thursday.
Byrne believes that when the Great Red Snapper Count’s full results are published, it “will make clear what fishermen and scientists across the Gulf Coast have long known – federal data has consistently been wrong and undercounted the true snapper fishery.”
The congressman played an integral role in securing funding for the landmark study, which cost $10 million and took place over several years. The bulk of the scientific work is being done by the Harte Research Institute in Texas. Full results from the project are expected to be publicly available before the end of 2020.
“I am proud to continue fighting federal bureaucrats for Alabama to have the flexibility to make the best decisions to protect our fisheries, and it is now the responsibility of the Gulf Council to use this new and more accurate data to assure that everyone along the Gulf has a rational and appropriate season,” Byrne remarked Friday.
“There are plenty of fish for everyone,” he concluded.