FWC News Release
Contact: Lee Schlesinger, (850) 487-0554
Recreational anglers will be able to catch and keep red snapper in Gulf of Mexico waters soon, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) advises fishers there are some important new rules they need to know about this year.
The FWC has made no changes to red snapper regulations in Gulf state waters, but there are changes in federal waters. Florida waters extend 9 nautical miles offshore in the Gulf, and federal waters extend beyond state waters.
The recreational red snapper fishing season in Florida waters in the Gulf opens on April 15, as usual, and the season in Gulf federal waters opens on April 21, which also is the same as in past years.
A new wrinkle is that a federal rule took effect recently to reduce the harvest of red snapper temporarily while a permanent plan to manage this overfished species is finalized.
The new federal rule says anglers in Gulf federal waters still may keep the existing four-red-snapper daily bag limit and the captain and crew of for-hire vessels may continue to retain this limit for the first 11 days of the season, from April 21 through May 1. However, beginning on May 2, the daily recreational bag limit for red snapper in Gulf federal waters will be reduced from four fish to two per person, and the captain and crew of for-hire vessels no longer will be allowed to retain the recreational bag limit.
In Gulf state waters, the daily recreational bag limit for red snapper will remain unchanged at four fish per person, and the captain and crew of for-hire vessels still can keep the recreational bag limit during the entire open season.
The state and federal recreational Gulf red snapper fishing seasons still will close as usual on Nov. 1 this year, and the minimum size limit for recreational red snapper taken in both state and federal Gulf waters is still 16 inches total length.
The FWC advises anglers that further changes to Gulf red snapper regulations needed to help this fishery recover from years of over-harvest are likely to be announced later this year.