SAFA News   |    The South Atlantic Fishermen's Association

Vermillion Snapper Closure

Posted By: Matthew Ruby | February 27, 2012

By: Matt Ruby, President, South Atlantic Fishermen's Association

In a statement issued on February 25, 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the official closure of the South Atlantic vermillion snapper fishery. The fishery, a major source of revenue for fishermen in our South Atlantic region, will remain closed until July 1. This marks the second major fishery closure this month, following the South Atlantic Golden Tilefish closing less than two weeks ago. Both fisheries closed earlier than commercial fishermen in our area would have hoped.

Once again our fishermen are seeing the inefficiency of the current fishery management system at work. The recent string of early closures highlights the need for us to explore other fishery management options.  

During their short open seasons, these two South Atlantic fisheries were characterized by derby-style fishing—a dangerous race to fish caused by the uncertainly and inconsistency of the current management system. Furthermore, these derby-fishing methods resulted in less profitable seasons and costly damages to equipment. 

Everyone suffers from the current management style—fishermen, suppliers, restaurants and the public that depends on fresh, local supplies to fill their plates. As fishermen, however, we feel the strongest impact from what occurs in the South Atlantic, and it is vital for us to have a say in how our fisheries are to be managed moving forward. Fishermen in the South Atlantic need more options than traditional management can provide: the current system has to be reevaluated.

To learn about some of the concerns with our current fishery management system, visit

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