I’m not typically one to “buck the system,” but this call by the feds and the state to ban the harvest of triggerfish in our Gulf waters has got me a little fired up! Talk to any local guide for hire and they’ll probably tell you the same thing: triggerfish are anything but over-harvested. I hear endless complaints about how all of their favorite fishing spots are so over-run with triggers that almost nothing else can be caught.
According to the FWC report, the state ban was enacted because the 2016 federal gray triggerfish quota was exceeded by more than 200 percent and also because federal waters will be closed through Dec. 31, 2017.
The two month season (June-July) closure of triggers and AJ’s was supposed to end on 1 August 2016. They did open AJs for harvest (for about 40 days) but changed their minds about the triggers and kept them closed for the rest of the year. This means we had five months (Jan-May) to over-fish triggers to that 200 percent figure.
Perhaps this issue wouldn’t bother me quite so much if this particular fish wasn’t so darn tasty. Grilled or blackened, these fish are hard to beat.
The FWC will be considering a potential limited triggerfish season for the fall of 2017 in an effort to provide fishing opportunities to Gulf anglers…gee thanks!
The point of this article is to engage the public and motivate you to contact the FWC and NOAA and make their voices heard. I’ve written FWC commissioners and NOAA officials to let them know how I feel about looking at these thousands upon thousands of fish that I cannot harvest, and the impact it has on the fishing and guiding communities.
I will not bash the FWC or NOAA because I trust that their goal is to protect our resources and maintain sustainability. I also cannot tell you with any certainty how healthy the trigger populations are in other areas of the Gulf. But forgive me if I have a bit of doubt in government agencies that more and more expand their control over our lives and the scope of their power. I just don’t want them to ever forget they work for US!
Go to myfwc.com and noaa.com for contact information and make your voice heard.