The Red Snapper…what am I supposed to make of this?

Am I gonna live, Doc?

Over the course of a week, it would appear a very interesting development has occurred regarding Red Snapper caught off the shore of Alabama…and it’s all got me a bit confused.

Last week, in the Pensacola News Journal, the NOAA was warning anglers that some fish are sick and may pose health problems if handled or eaten raw. The agency further suggests anglers be on the look out for fish that have lesions, fin rot, or discolored skin and toss these fish away.

Jim Cowan Jr., a Louisiana State University Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences scientist reports that the locations where the sick fish have been found correlate with areas most impacted by the BP oil spill. The NOAA, however, states that the LSU findings are preliminary, but Cowan said he believes the problems are more widespread, “I’m very worried because I’ve talked to both commercial and recreational fishermen who have been in the business 30 to 40 years and no one has seen anything like this,”

But, that was last week…

This week, I read in the Alabama Press-Register, the following headline:

“Snapper Season 2011, one year after BP oil spill: ‘Bigger, badder and better'”

Skipper Thierry, a charter boat captain, said he was initially fearful of what the season might bring, but after witnessing scientists continue to search the seafloor for oil and come up empty time and time again, Thierry has had a change of heart, “I think the fish are fine. I think the fishing’s fine. We still have a little bit of a perception problem — or maybe a lot of a perception problem — with the public. Nothing is going to heal that but time.”

As for a prediction about this year’s snapper season, Thierry said it’s going to be outstanding, “We left a lot of fish out there last year, and the spill didn’t kill them. That moves right on up the food chain. The fish are everywhere…I’ll say this: The Gulf, the red snapper, everything out there, is bigger, badder, and better than it’s ever been. And it really is. Nobody can deny that.”

Maybe, maybe not…I guess it all just depends on who you ask, and which day of the week it is.

And that’s unfortunate, very unfortunate because when it comes to all these perception problems, articles so diametrically opposed are a huge part of the problem…

Have a nice day.

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