December 6, 2014
Red Snapper fishing — states’ rights?
Hearings were held on Thursday, in Congress, regarding Alabama’s red snapper population, the role of the federal government in determining the size of the population, the length of the state’s fishing season and how much was caught. The following are two links. The first is a story from Congressman Byrne’s website about the testimony given in the hearing and the second is a story from the WWF regarding unsustainable fishing, worldwide. I’m not a red snapper fisherman nor am I an expert on this subject, but those of us who grew up on the Gulf Coast fishing, shrimping, crabbing or oystering in these same waters have come to see the haul get smaller as the effort, the energy to catch them gets harder.
For all the money spent on conservation efforts, the fishery population is decreasing here and around the world. With the advent of refrigeration, seafood can be shipped by truck or by airplane to all parts of the U.S. and around the world, overnight — from smaller markets to larger ones (grocery stores and restaurants) like Atlanta, New York, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis to Tokyo. They have a better selection in their stores and restaurants then we do. While we were being served fake “grouper” in our own restaurants several years ago or some white Asian fish now these inland markets were and are still getting our local and regional catch.
What’s wrong with this picture when we overlook the Gulf of Mexico and we’re being served Swai at our restaurants? I have never once gone fishing for Swai, in Mobile Bay or in the Gulf. Hello! Getting fresh seafood once required a drive to or a summer vacation at one of the nation’s area beaches, but it can now be enjoyed daily, back home. It’s no longer a seasonal industry, it’s year-around. Our increasing U.S. population, new technology and better transportation with increased demand has led to an increase in the annual consumption of seafood and thus putting pressure on our fisheries. They can’t keep up with our insatiable appetite.
Unlike a factory that can be added-on to or improved with new technology that’s not the case with our oceans. Add-in our agriculture and industrial pollution and our oceans are dead, dying and changing in temperature and acidity due to climate change. The capacity to produce seafood world-wide is diminishing.
America and Washington love to kick the can down the road rather than bite the bullet and make a sacrifice. Should we fish the red snapper into oblivion, as well? Who will be there to tell our grandchildren at home or at the water’s edge what fishing use to be like? On this issue, our congressman and these charter and recreational fisherman have it all wrong. Streets have speed limits for a reason.
Economics and jobs alone should never be the grounds for why we pursue a particular course of action. For too long that’s been the driving force and in 2008 we went right over a cliff because of this policy. America is a spoiled nation where saying “no” to our children or ourselves has become impossible and the resulting problems can be seen in our addictions to nearly everything including fishing for those last few fish!
What’s for dinner, tonight — Swai, fake crab meat, canned tuna, popcorn shrimp?
Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved. “Red Snapper fishing — states’ rights?” by Ted Burnett
My other essays and videos can be viewed at my website – http://www.tedburnett.com. I can be contacted via email at – firstname.lastname@example.org.