Red Snapper Fall Federal Season Set To Begin Oct 1

In a move anticipated by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials, NOAA Fisheries rejected red snapper landing estimates from its own Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) and set a 14 day fall season in Louisiana federal waters beginning next Tuesday, Oct. 1. Estimated recreational landings of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico after the first federal season in June indicated that the entire 2013 recreational allowable harvest had been exceeded by more than 14 percent; at that time these estimates had not even accounted for Texas landings.

NOAA Fisheries’ justification for a supplemental season is recorded in a Sept. 9, addendum to the June 9, 2013 report “Estimated 2013 Season Lengths for a Fall Reopening of the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Recreational Season” and states the following:

“At this time, NOAA Fisheries does not have a sufficient understanding of how to use the new MRIP landing estimates without better understanding how they fit into the broader scientific basis for red snapper management, which includes the stock assessment and the full historical times series of fishery dependent and independent data.”

“Assuming catch rates are 75 percent of summer catch rates, the season length would be 14 days (i.e., Oct 1 – Oct 14).”

“‘No sufficient understanding’, ‘assuming’, this is exactly why Louisiana is conducting its own recreational survey.” stated Assistant Secretary of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “How can I have confidence making fishery management decisions in Louisiana based on recreational landing data that NMFS themselves barely understand?”

The fall federal season will begin Oct. 1, and end Oct. 14, with a two fish limit and a minimum size of 16 inches. In an effort to provide for compatible regulations in Louisiana state waters, LDWF Secretary Barham, with the support of the Wildlife & Fisheries Commission, is opening state waters concurrently with the federal opening.

State Red Snapper Season

The Louisiana, weekend-only season will end Sunday, September 29. There will be NO red snapper fishing on Monday, September 30. State and federal waters will be open on Oct. 1, with a two-fish limit and a 16-inch minimum.