Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fishing For Tomorrow

According to the latest NOAA fishery bulletin, the expected recreational Red Snapper season will be 40 days this year, down from 48 days in 2011. This will no doubt cause a raucous among the user groups as the stock is known to be rebounding and fish are getting bigger. This spurs educated fishermen, Environmental Non Governmental Organizations, regulators, and fisheries to continually work together trying to find systems and solutions to our growing problems. There is outcry for some extremist groups to repeal and rewrite the Magnuson Act, responsible for getting us to the point of rebuilding potential we are currently at.  And constant complaining about the system, or the data, or the charter fishermen, or the commercial fishermen for causing the problem. As we see our season get shorter year by year it becomes obvious that the complaining and blaming hasn't been very effective so far, in case you weren't aware of that already.

Meanwhile, this week in St. Petersburg, Florida, I was invited by a group called FishSmart to participate in a fish survivability workshop relating to barotrauma. For simple purposes, barotrauma is the effect on a fish such as Red Snapper or Grouper when it is brought up from depth and has a stomach out its mouth, eye popping out of the head, and/or overinflated or ruptured swim bladder. Although these effects appear life threatening and detrimental, research shows that fish are actually capable of recovering from these effects if handled properly and in a timely manner.

There are two main schools of thought about helping fish to recover from barotraumatic effects. Venting and recompression. Venting is when you poke the fish behind the pectoral fin releasing gasses from the swim bladder so the fish has the opportunity to swim back to the bottom. Recompression is a fairly new tactic which involves rapidly sending the fish back down to or near the bottom where it came from. This process show a lot of promise for the survivability in the future and should be a hot topic moving forward. I was also able to acquire a new product called The Seaqualizer for recompression and I am really looking forward to getting it out on the water and trying it out as the seas calm down and we begin to start the Galveston deep sea fishing season early this summer.

For more information about The Seaqualizer or the FishSmart program , go to: and

And to book your next Galveston fishing charter check out