State and federal officials announced today that there will be a 14-day recreational red snapper season for fishermen for the first two weeks of October.
The daily limit will be two fish per angler, with a 16-inch minimum in both federal and the state’s territorial waters.
Mississippi’s Department of Marine Resources and NOAA’s Southeast Fishery Bulletin have confirmed the season will open at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1 and close at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15.
The season was offered after federal officials raised the annual recreational snapper quota for the Gulf of Mexico from 4.145 million pounds to 5.39 million. The commercial quota was also raised, going from 4.315 million pounds to 5.61 million.
However, the season was in question after officials announced new methodology used by federal managers to estimate catches during the June season. That change estimated the annual quota had been surpassed during the June season, but NOAA fisheries’ Roy Crabtree predicted earlier this week that the season would happen despite the higher catch estimates.
That was music to offshore anglers’ ears.
“I am happy about that, and I hope we get decent weather, you know the way it’s supposed to be in October,” said Billy Thomas of Gulfport, who was changing his plans for the next few weeks. “I was planning to go to my deer camp in Claiborne County the first two weeks for bow hunting, but I will be getting my boat and my buddies here ready for snapper fishing.
“This is great. I heard them say this year they might give us a fall season, but ever since then it’s been more negative than positive. This means a lot to us snapper guys down here, and I know my charter buddies will be dancing a jig.”