NPR

Who Gets To Fish For Red Snapper In The Gulf? It's All Politics

The fish were nearly wiped out from the Gulf 20 or 30 years ago, so the catch is closely regulated. A Trump administration deal to extend the recreational season has prompted cheers – and concerns.
Deckhand Patrick Gallager tosses the day's catch to the dock from the Fairwater Two charter boat. Source: Debbie Elliott/NPR

There's a fight brewing over who can fish for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, and for how long. And it's serious politics.

Recreational anglers pushed the Trump administration to intervene after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration set the shortest recreational snapper season on record – just three days in June. The result was a deal between the Commerce Department and Gulf states to extend the season.

Now, the boat docks at Sportsman Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., are laden with the catch.

"We got six snappers and we got a bunch of vermilions," says Keith Green of Atlanta as he unloads a cart full of gleaming red fish at a stainless-steel cleaning table.

His fishing buddy, Tony Reaves, is

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