Anglers along the Mississippi Gulf Coast will get two additional days of red snapper fishing Saturday and Sunday, the state’s Department of Marine Resources announced Wednesday.

According to the agency, red snapper will be legal from 12:01 a.m. Saturday and close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. No red snapper can be legally harvested on Monday, which is Labor Day.

MDMR clarified its press release to say that fishing will be allowed out to 200 miles in the Gulf of Mexico, but only on Saturday and Sunday can snapper be transported through the state’s territorial waters and ported at a Mississippi Harbor.

The red snapper season opened May 25 in both territorial and federal waters, with a recreational quota set at 135,149 pounds. This is the first year that state fisheries managers, like those at MDMR, were given authority to track the harvest of the controversial fish.

Using its Tails ’n Scales program, under which fishermen have to register each snapper trip and then report its catch before registering another trip, MDMR realized that the quota would be reached well before the scheduled Labor Day end of the season. To prolong it as long as possible, MDMR interrupted the season with a two-week closure July 8-22.

However, by mid August, fishermen started nearing within 10 percent of the quota, what the agency called the buffer limit, and the season was ended on Aug. 17 to allow officials to tally the catch. Apparently, the agency found enough fish remaining in the quota to open for two more days.

No weight totals were announced Wednesday. 

According to Wednesday’s press release from MDMR, totals from the Tails ’n Scales reporting system indicate the annual catch target for the private recreational fishery is projected to be reached over the two-day extension. However, MDMR has the authority to adjust the recreational season if finalized landings indicate additional harvest would remain within the quota allowed under the Federal Exempted Fishing Permit or for any other reason such as inclement weather or due to unforeseen circumstances. 

A new version of the Tails ’n Scales app (3.31) is now available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play. MDMR urges fishermen to download the new version prior to using the Tails n’ Scales app. New features include an informational banner and the ability to create new trips only during a specified time frame. Anglers will not be allowed to create trips after the season has closed; they may still provide all information to close trips.