Gulf Coast Red Snapper Recreational Catch Season Extended
Bob McNally 06.19.17
Private boat recreational anglers have finally caught a break in the battle to be able to harvest red snapper in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this year NOAA Fisheries gave recreational anglers just a 3-day federal red snapper season, June 1-3.
On June 16, red snapper will open for recreational harvest in all Gulf of Mexico waters, both state and federal. After a couple weeks of negotiations between the Department of Commerce and the fishery managers from the five Gulf states they agreed on a 39-day season.
It will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Friday, June 16, through Monday, September 4. In addition to the weekend days Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4, and Monday, September 4 are also included.
State waters in the Gulf of Mexico are from shore to nine nautical miles out and are managed by the states. Federal waters extend from where state waters end, out to about two hundred nautical miles and are managed by NOAA Fisheries who is overseen by the Department of Commerce.
In order to get the additional 39-days to fish in federal waters states such as Florida had to give up the state waters fall season that was set to be open on weekends in September and October and Monday through Thursdays starting Monday June 19.
The state waters season was originally set to close on July 9, so the weekends through July and August are an addition.
Many anglers believe the agreement reached between the Secretary of Commerce and the five Gulf States is a significant step forward in building a new Federal-State partnership in managing the Gulf of Mexico red snapper stock.