Red snapper ban could hurt local fishers

Murrells Inlet, SC - By A.J. Ross - bio | email

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) – A new federal restriction passed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council restricts fisherman from catching red snapper along the southeast coast. Although a temporary ban was already in place, local fishermen worry this extended ban will have lasting affects.

"We're at a loss of words really as to which one to cry about first," said Everette Silver, a commercial fisherman from Murrells Inlet.

Silver says his business has already felt the effects of some of the fishing restrictions already in place, and he's now worried about more bans coming down the pike.

"They're threatening for more and more closures and more and more stipulations on each one," Silver said. "We've got to stay tied to the docks and come up with other means of making a living."

The new red snapper ban also prohibits fishermen from catching other types of grouper and snapper off the Georgia and Florida coastlines. Murrells Inlet Seafood owner Rick Baumannsays the fishing industry as a whole is already suffering through the tough economy and Gulf oil spill so more restrictions are just another burden.

"It's a tough business to be in whether you're a fisherman or a purveyor like myself, a wholesaler or a retailer," Baumann said. "These are the things that are our quality of life in South Carolina and this red snapper ban is just another chip off the block so to speak of our natural resources being eroded away."

Baumann and others say they are also worried about other out-of-state fisherman now traveling to the Carolinas to take advantage of the fish that are not banned.

"I feel for them too and I understand that they would come up here where they can fish legally," Baumann commented. "But they wont just catch snapper they'll be catching fish that our fisherman need to be catching."

The Secretary of Commerce still has to approve the new ban for it to go into affect. The new restrictions will likely not be enforced until later this year.

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