Wicker Statement on NOAA’s Red Snapper Final Rule

December 2, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today released the following statement in response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) final ruling on the annual catch limits for red snapper that will cut Mississippi’s red snapper season by 60 percent next year.

“When I met with NOAA Administrator Spinrad in September 2021, he told me their calibration system was broken and could not pass peer review. He made a commitment to me that day to fix it,” Wicker said. “NOAA’s final rule includes the exact calibration that Mr. Spinrad agreed was flawed. For a so-called science agency, this rule is an embarrassment and exemplifies how the bureaucracy of this Administration fails the American people, and in particular those of the state of Mississippi." 

NOAA’s flawed rule is intended to prevent overfishing by modifying each state’s annual catch limits (ACLs) for red snapper. This new formula will require calibrating Mississippi’s high quality ‘Tails n’ Scales’ data, which records accurate information for more than 95% of Mississippi’s annual recreational red snapper catch, to the low-quality Federal Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) data. 

The new calibration required by the rule will reduce Mississippi’s red snapper quota by 60 percent in 2023, meaning private anglers could reach their yearly quota in as little as three weeks. The ruling is based on outdated data from 2017 and 2018, despite Congress appropriating $2 million to NOAA to investigate and improve calibration methods.

Click here to read Wicker’s statement on the proposed rule in July.

Click here to read Wicker’s public comment to the U.S. Department of Commerce.