BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - A two-year-old ban on red snapper fishing could be lifted. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council wants an emergency rule put in place to bring back red snapper fishing, at least on a limited basis. Coastal area fishing is a very popular sport and supplies many of the fish on the menus at seafood restaurants throughout the low country and Coastal Empire. But in January of 2010, it was determined the health of the red snapper population was at risk due to over fishing them.
The ban on fishing was put into place to help replenish the population and new information shows it has worked so far.
Now, a lift of the ban for a three-day recreational fishing trip and a lift on commercial fishing will allow fisherman to catch up to fifty pounds of red snapper per day for a set seven-day period.
The emergency rule will allow for recreational fishermen to catch a total of over 9,000 fish during a three day fishing weekend and commercial fisherman will get seven days to catch up to 3,600 snapper. Those are totals for the year 2012, not for one person.
The management council requested the emergency rule last week and now it is in the review process. It will need to be approved by the secretary of commerce. The council is hoping for a decision by the secretary as soon as possible so enough time is given to the fisherman to make plans.