Posted tagged ‘red snapper’

Stop Red Snapper Overprotection in Federal Waters!

May 28, 2012

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This video was taken at an oil and gas platform off Freeport, Texas on May 18, 2012. If you know what a red snapper looks like, you know you are looking at a massive school of them! And there are also multiple year classes visible, with a nice school of 10-15 pounders in view at the end of the clip. Both rigs I dove at that day were loaded with red snapper. In fact, they’ve been loaded with red snapper for years!

This year, the season for red snapper in federal waters is a ridiculously short 40 days, and you can only keep 2 over 16 inches. This is the shortest season ever! I hope there will be a grassroots effort soon demanding better sport fish regulations for red snapper. I don’t mind having a season, but a 40 day, 2 fish minimum is foolish. The season should be extended, and I think the limit should be increased to 5 snapper of any size, with the stipulation that you have to keep the first 5 you catch and then stop snapper fishing. Everybody who has any experience snapper fishing knows that if you send a squid-baited hook to the bottom next to an oil platform in federal waters off Texas, you will have a snapper biting before you can engage the gears on your level wind. It has been that way as long as I can remember, and I am sick of catching 99% red snapper when I bottom fish near an oil platform, and only being allowed to keep certain sizes over an ever-shortening season! Plus, it is just common sense that a red snapper that has been hauled up from 75+ feet deep has a much lower chance of survival upon release than say, a largemouth bass from Lake Conroe. When people go snapper fishing, they are not normally going for a catch and release excursion, it is catch, keep and eat! The current rules are not designed to benefit either the fish,the angler, or coastal economies, and that needs to change.

There are plenty of snapper out there, let’s get the rules changed, now! The majority of fishermen are responsible enough to comply with the foolish regulations we have now; there’s no reason to expect we would have a massive decline in snapper if we had a June 1-Sep. 30 season, with a “keep the first five, any size” limit. If you agree that the rules need changing, share this video with others and spread the word! Here is contact information for the Gulf Council: 2203 N Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, Florida 33607 USA. Phone:813-348-1630; Toll Free: 888-833-1844; Fax: 813-348-1711; Email:

Kindly but clearly let them know you want to see improved fishery management strategies for red snapper. Let them know overprotection is not a good management plan!

Annual commerical and recreational harvest quotas are set by the NOAA Fisheries Service. Their Southeast regional office in St. Petersburg, Florida, is responsible for the Gulf of Mexico red snapper quotas. Call them at (727) 824-5301 and let your voice be heard. Their website is

In America, we have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, so if folks at NOAA and the Gulf Council are mismanaging an entire fishery, we can motivate them to do better!  Please don’t hesitate to contact these folks with some new ideas and let them know their current plan is no good, either for the red snapper, or for the anglers who enjoy them.

To learn more about the foolish methods currently used to determine the red snapper sport fishing season, read these articles by Houston Chronicle outdoor writer Shannon Tompkins:

2012 article

2011 article

Also, it should not go unnoticed that the state of Texas, whose waters extend out to 9 nautical miles, has maintained a 4-fish daily limit and 360-day season every year since the federal agencies have been overregulating their waters. The more relaxed Texas limits have obviously not hampered red snapper populations in federal waters!

Spotted Dolphin

May 21, 2012

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The Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) is one of about 40 species currently classified in the family Delphinidae.

A spotted dolphin comes in for a close look at my camera.

Reaching lengths of 8 feet, spotted dolphins are usually smaller than Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and tend to travel in bigger groups, or pods, of 20 or more. Like most dolphins, spotted dolphins are very family-oriented, which brings up an interesting question. Because they normally tend to stick together as a family, dolphin pods are by nature reproductively isolated. And most biologists consider reproductive isolation to be the most important factor in contributing to diversification over time. But why are there only about 40 classified species of dolphins? Some say dolphins have been around for tens of millions of years, which seems like plenty of time to have more than 40 species develop on our watery planet.

Besides reproductive isolation, dolphins are classified as different species based on traits that humans consider different enough to distinguish one population from another. But compare the 40 or so “species” of dolphins to the 150-plus “breeds” of dogs currently registered by the American Kennel Club. All breeds of dogs are considered to be one “species”, Canis familiaris, all developed over the last 2000+ years. However, just like a laborador retriever can successfully breed with a golden retriever, so too a spotted dolphin can successfully breed with the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Yet we classify them as different species, placing spotted dolphins in genus Stenella and bottlenose in genus Tursiops!

The truth is, a lot of confusion exists regarding how to define a species. Much confusion is remedied though, when we think of dolphins as one big family, or baramin. “Baramin” is the Hebrew word for “kind”, and is used many times in Scripture to describe God’s creative acts.  Scripture is clear that their are different kinds of things, and that “all flesh is not the same flesh” (I Corinthians 15:39). Also, as Peter Leithart explains, the “The Bible unveils a God who gives enough and more than enough”, and we see this attribute revealed in His creation, too. We see one family of dolphins, which God gave “enough and more than enough” to adapt and diversify over time.

So few dolphin species, so little time

And speaking of time, that brings me back to the question of “why only 40 dolphin species?” With their natural tendency towards reproductive isolation, one might think that if the earth were as old as some say, we wouldn’t have dozens, we would have hundreds of dolphin species. I believe the fact that we don’t see much diversity is good evidence that the best interpretation of earth age is the one that lines up with the genealogies recorded in Scripture. It is not-so-common knowledge that research reveals both the genetic and geneaological trends in humans point to thousands, not millions or billions of years of earth history. It certainly seems the dolphin baramin displays a similar trend.

Dolphins, oil and gas, and Christian stewardship

Here are some video clips from a May 2012 trip into the Gulf of Mexico, about 30 miles SE of Freeport, TX.

I want you to consider everything you see in the video, not just the dolphins. Included are video clips of a pod of about 18-20 spotted dolphins.  But you’ll also see a clip showing massive schools of fishes surrounding an oil and gas production platform. Think about it; what you are seeing is a man-made structure that also serves as an artificial reef, providing food and shelter for giant schools of snapper, blue runners, etc. And the spotted dolphins have come to reap the fishy harvest! Some conclusions I hope you will draw are 1) the dolphins are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf, 2) the fish are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf, and 3) Humans are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf!

So, the next time you hear about the “evils of oil and gas”, or the “endangered marine mammals”, or “humans are destroying the planet”, remember this video! Followed properly, God’s dominion mandate for Christians in Genesis 1:26-28 will make our planet a more productive place, not just for mankind, but for all kinds. Only a fool would destroy the planet, but only a fool would overprotect it, too. God gave us an entire planet and then some to use, so let’s use it wisely!

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