Fishery managers on Thursday (Sept. 21) approved an extension to the red snapper fishing season to begin on Oct. 1, with fishing allowed only on Fridays through Sundays until Nov. 22, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council announced.
The measure was taken after the overall red snapper quota was increased in the spring from 5 million pounds to 6.945 million pounds. However, the season only lasted 53 days before it was shut down – ostensibly because of increased catch rates and average red-snapper sizes.
The council said these increases led to projections that the quota would be filled, but the subsequent BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and accompanying closure of federal waters resulted in reduced effort. That, the council said, meant the recreational red snapper quota was unfilled.
In light of this information, the Gulf Council requested that NOAA Fisheries Service institute rulemaking to reopen the recreational red snapper season later this year to allow the harvest of the remaining red snapper quota.
However, much of the northern Gulf of Mexico remains closed due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To see what areas are open, click here.
Anglers are reminded that current fishing regulations apply to include a two-snapper-per-person daily bag with a minimum total length of 16 inches.
In addition, anglers must have in possession venting tools and dehooking devices when fishing for Gulf reef fish. The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks also is required for fishermen using natural baits.
For-hire captain and crew are not permitted to keep red snapper