Down here on the Gulf Coast (Texas to Florida), we've been getting shorter & shorter recreational seasons on our popular game fish. Gulf Red Snapper (a very different fish from what y'all call 'red snapper'), is now down to a 2 fish limit and only a 9 day season in Federal waters (everything past 9 miles, and most red snapper are in waters further out than this). This is in large part due to lobbying by commercial fishing, which gets the lion's share of fish allocated to it's quota.
I've been watching the limits & rules on recreational halibut fishing get tightened up more every year up in Alaska, and can't help but wonder if you folks are on the way to such rules for halibut? I know that commercial fishing provides alot of employment & economic activity there, but at some point, isn't there a greater economic benefit - in terms of total dollars per pound of fish - to recreational fishing vs commercial harvest? Likewise, it seems that recreational fishing is more sustainable in the long term than some types of commercial fishing (like trawl nets).
Am I way off base here in regards to Alaskan fishing? Does it make more sense to allocate the majority of harvest to commercial activity up there, or is this something that needs to change to maintain a sustainable long-term fishery? If not, is the recreational sector prepared to live with continually tightened restrictions on halibut & other game fish?