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Friday, March 5, 2010 - 10:15am

Red Snapper Ban Weighs on Ga. Coast

A federal fisheries panel has removed North and South Carolina from a planned no-catch zone for red snapper.

The decision could cost Georgia and Florida millions of dollars.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting on Jekyll Island this week voted to remove the Carolinas since there aren't as many red snapper there.

Federal scientists say, the species is over-fished.

McIntosh County seafood wholesaler and council member Charlie Phillips says, he believes the change isn't fair to Georgia.

"This closed area basically reallocates vermillion snapper, grouper and I don't know what else to the Carolinas," Phillips says. "I don't see American red snapper opening any time soon."

Harvesters fear for their business suvival.

Retailers say, the change will push up the price of the fish.

It'll also weigh heavily on charter boats, already suffering from a bad economy.

The entire industry has been straining under a temporary red snapper ban since January.

The council now is working on a more long-term solution to the overfishing.

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