Mississippi recreational anglers will again have only a few days to fish for red snapper in federal waters this year. But, as MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, some still aren't convinced such a short season is needed.
Charter boat captain Kenny Barhanovich sits near his boat, the Miss Hospitality, in Biloxi. Charter boats will have a longer season than recreational fishermen - 9 days for recreational anglers, 46 days for charter boats.
Barhanovich says those extra days help bring in business. But he’s still not convinced there's a need for such narrow limits.
“I think there’s more snapper than there’s every been," he says. "They’re bigger because of the size limit and everything else. It started off, I believe, when they put a limit on snapper, it was 10, then it went to seven, then it went to five, then to three, now it's two per person. It's a lot of money invested to catch two per person, you know."
Mississippi, like other gulf states, has started collecting its own data on red snapper. Fishermen are now required to report all of their red snapper catches.
"We have said in the past that we believe there are more fish out there than what the federal government's data shows," says Melissa Scallan is with the Department of Marine Resources. "So we wanted to keep track of our own data. Alabama also has a reporting program. And maybe in the future we hope to change that federal season, and help them get better numbers where it can be a longer season."
The federal red snapper season starts June 1. Mississippi is expected to decide this week about a state season.