I questioned the FWC as to why the disparity in the minimum size requirements between recreational & commercial caught American red snapper & red grouper. One pont in the official FWC response demands an answer:
(Commercial) "use different gears and fishing practices that make commercially-discarded fish less likely to survive than recreationally-discarded fish." Given that statement I have asked Jessica why bottom long lines are still legal? I will post any response.
Direct from the office of the FWC:
Nick (head of FWC) has asked me to help answer your questions about grouper and snapper sizes.
The reason the minimum size limit for commercial harvest is smaller than recreational is to reduce the amount of discards. Commercial harvesters generally fish for red grouper and red snapper at greater depths than recreational harvesters, and use different gears and fishing practices that make commercially-discarded fish less likely to survive than recreationally-discarded fish. An 18-19 inch red grouper and 13-15 inch red snapper are marketable size, so by allowing commercial harvesters to keep these fish, this reduces discard waste. It is also important to keep in mind that commercial harvesters in the Gulf have an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for grouper and red snapper that limits the amount of fish that can be harvested commercially, so the lower size limit does not allow commercial harvesters to increase their catch.
Jessica R. McCawley
Director, Division of Marine Fishery Management
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
2590 Executive Center Circle E. Suite 201
Tallahassee, Fl. 32301