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Roundabout red snapper reasoning.

The South Atlantic red snapper fishery is strictly a pole and line fishery. All modern scientific research supports pole and line fisheries as one of the most sustainable of all fishing methods. Additionally, other research suggests red snapper is a "periodic strategist" in regards to its productivity--it's one of the most fecund and highly productive spawners on the planet.

Now according to SEDAR 15 (the first red snapper assessment), the pole and line fishermen of the South Atlantic reduced the stock by 95 percent in 37 years (1946-1983). This was accomplished without any other form of fishing other than pole and line, catching them one or two at a time. These results seem physically impossible in such a short period of time.

Fast forward to SEDAR 24, the second red snapper assessment. This time the pole and line fishermen were not the culprit. It was poor recruitment. Supposedly, red snapper were not producing enough age 1 cohorts for 55 out of the 56 years of the assessment. Remember this is one of the most highly fecund and productive species on the planet, with a 6-pound female able to produce 60 million eggs in a single year. The only limit to recruitment seems to be the environment. Yet, supposedly the stock was destroyed by poor recruitment from 1956 to 1976, and beyond.

In the first assessment (SEDAR 15), recruitment was normal to cover natural mortality; in the second (SEDAR 24) it was terrible. None of this makes any sense. I feel the only logical explanation is that both assessments are wrong and suffer from lack of fishery independent data.

David Nelson Daytona Beach

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Title Annotation:LETTERS & EMAILS
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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