Fishers can Expect Stricter Quotas on Red Snapper

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Federal fisheries regulators will meet in New Orleans this week to decide the fate of the highly prized and highly overfished red snapper, which has been close to disappearing for almost three decades.

If proposed new regulations are approved, recreational and commercial fishers will take big hits.

Stricter quotas would allow them to fish about half of the snapper they did last year, and the catch is expected to remain at that level for at least three years.

Shrimp fishers would have to make concessions as well, possibly facing season closures to prevent accidental catch of the vulnerable snapper.

Even with the regulations, the Gulf of Mexico's red snapper population isn't expected to rebound for another 25 years.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, an advisory body that helps set rules managing Gulf fisheries, is poised to lower the entire red snapper quota in the Gulf to five million pounds, the lowest level in 14 years.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)