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Federal judge upholds red snapper rule

A federal judge this week upheld a new rule allocating separate red snapper quotas for recreational anglers and licensed charter captains in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ruling makes it unlikely that recreational anglers will see a change from the 2015 red snapper season, during which they had nine days to fish from their own boats, compared to 44 for charter/for-hire operators and year-round for commercial vessels, according to the Coastal Conservation Association, the group that brought the suit.

“The great risk in these kinds of cases is that the court will simply defer to the federal agency charged with managing public resources, and unfortunately that is what the court chose to do in this case,” Bill Bird, chairman of CCA’s national government relations committee, said in a statement.

“This is another frustrating development in a fishery that has been defined by failure and misguided policies for decades, but it does prove that state management is now the only viable avenue out of this mess,” said Bird. “We are more committed than ever to working with Congress to transfer responsibility for the red snapper fishery away from the federal government and let the Gulf states manage it.”