Thu., April 28, 2011 3:29pm (EDT)

Atlantic Bottom Fishing Ban Cancelled
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

TOWNSEND, Ga.  —  
Fishermen in South Georgia and Northern Florida will be allowed to bottom-fish, even if it means some red snapper die.  The South Atlantic Fisheries Council made that decision after consulting with scientists on fish population forecasts.  (photo Orlando Montoya)
Fishermen in South Georgia and Northern Florida will be allowed to bottom-fish, even if it means some red snapper die. The South Atlantic Fisheries Council made that decision after consulting with scientists on fish population forecasts. (photo Orlando Montoya)
Federal fisheries managers have abandoned plans to ban bottom-fishing off much of the Georgia coast.

The proposal was the most controversial idea in an effort to protect the over-fished red snapper population.

It's still illegal to catch red snapper.

But the fish also get caught when fishermen troll the bottom looking for other species.

Banning bottom-fishing would have closed many fishing businesses.

McIntosh County seafood wholesaler and South Atlantic Fisheries Council member Charlie Phillips says, it also would have went against the best science.

"Red snapper are rebuilding," Phillips says. "The fishermen are seeing more and more snapper out there all the time."

The ban was scheduled to take effect in June.

But fishermen still aren't happy with its cancellation.

They want the total ban removed, as well.

"It's hard for fishermen to see more fish now than they did in the 90's and then on the other hand not be allowed to catch any," Phillips says.

But that ban will remain in place as long as officials deem the species in danger of over-fishing.