The Southeast Regional Office of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Section is expected to announce Friday that recreational fishermen will have a 10-day red snapper season in federal waters.
That season will run June 1-10.
Because U.S. Department of Commerce secretary Penny Pritzker approved Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council amendment to separate charterboat/for-hire operations from the recreational sector, NOAA Southeast also is expected to declare for-hire fishing businesses to get a 44-day red snapper season in federal waters. The Department of Commerce is the umbrella agency that oversees NOAA Fisheries. This sector separation is set to take effect May 22.
The current plan allows commercial fishing operations to take 51 percent of the total annual allowable catch of red snapper, which leaves 49 percent for the recreational sector. Removing the charterboat/for-hire percentage leaves private recreational fishermen a little more 57 percent of the annual “recreational” quota.
Both seasons could be put on hold depending on the outcome of a Coastal Conservation Association federal suit filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana that seeks to halt the move to carve out 42.3 percent of the annual recreational allowed take of red snapper in federal waters for charterboat/for-hire operations.