The recreational red snapper season will open in Louisiana waters at 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 20, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secretary Robert Barham announced Monday.
It will be open daily with the only restrictions being that anglers have a two-fish-per-day limit with a 16-inches minimum size on the fish.
In the announcement, Barham echoed data presented during the March 5 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting that showed Louisiana recreational anglers took an estimated 621,000 pounds of red snapper during a 10-month-long season in 2014. That total, according to state marine managers' data, was 82 percent of the state's annual historic recreational red snapper catch of 754,000 pounds. The state's data, compiled through the two-year-old LaCreel Program, showed the state's recreational red snapper catch was estimated at 164,500 pounds during 2014's federally mandated nine-day (June 1-9) season in federal waters.
The state's original plan was to open the recreational season on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday for Friday-through-Sunday periods through Sept. 30. The LWFC granted Barham the authority to open and close the season according to the outlines from the state's LaCreel data, and Monday's announcement indicted the season will remain open "… until further notice."
Monday's announcement also carried a warning for recreational anglers after the LWFC approved a State Legislature-approved plan to extend state waters from three miles off the state's coast out to three marine leagues, or slightly more than 10 miles, into the Gulf of Mexico.
The warning stated: "LDWF officials encourage fishermen to use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three-mile boundary that is currently recognized as federal waters, as it is fully expected that federal agents will continue to enforce federal law. Until U.S. Congress confirms Louisiana’s action, the battle will continue over Louisiana’s state water boundary."
State marine fisheries managers also advised recreational fishermen that they will need a no-fee Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to catch and possess red snapper. The permit is required for all fishermen possessiong tuna, billfish, swordfish, amberjack, grouper, snapper, hind, wahoo, cobia and dolphin. Fishermen aboard for-hire trips do not need the permit if the charter captain holds a permit.
Fishermen can get or renew the permit vie the LDWF's website: https://rolp.wlf.la.gov. LDWF administrators said the Internet Explorer 11 or above, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari browsers are supported.