History of Gulf of Mexico red snapper regulations


Red Snapper


2007 - Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system implemented for federal commercial fishery. Reef fish gear rules take effect state and federal waters.

August 24-28, 2009 - Updated Gulf red snapper stock assessment presented in Miami indicated that overfishing had stopped; but the stock was still overfished and was estimated to be rebuilt in 2032. The assessment also indicated that an increase in total allowable catch was warranted. In response, NOAA Fisheries  increased the total allowable catch (TAC) from 5.0 million pounds (mp) to 6.945 mp for 2010 and set the length of the 2010 recreational red snapper season in federal waters on the Gulf of Mexico to June 1 through July 23.

April 2010 - FWC approved a federal consistency action making the state red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico consistent with the June 1 through July 23 federal season.

2010 - Catch levels during the June 1-July 23, 2010, open season were less than the 2010 established recreational Gulf red snapper harvest quota due to fishing closures caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In response, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) and NOAA Fisheries opened recreational red snapper for a supplemental season in Gulf federal waters during weekends only (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) from Friday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.

The FWC opened a consistent supplemental recreational red snapper season via executive order icon_PDF.gif in Gulf of Mexico state waters.

October 2010 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved a regulatory amendment that would increase the TAC for red snapper for 2011 to 7.185 million pounds. 

NOAA Fisheries increased the commercial and recreational red snapper quotas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico to 3.66 and 3.866 million pounds, respectively. The 2011 recreational red snapper season for federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico was June 1 through July 18. This 48-day season was chosen in part to the increasing size of landed fish.

June 2011 - FWC Commissioners adopted a consistent recreational red snapper harvest season of June 1-July 18 for Gulf of Mexico state waters. 

April 2011 - Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council increased Gulf of Mexico red snapper catch limits for 2012 and 2013, and allowed for future openings of the recreational red snapper season in late fall if there is remaining quota. The red snapper catch limit was increased for 2012 to 8.080 million pounds and for 2013 to 8.690 million pounds.

Based on the updated catch limits, a 40-day, June 1 through July 10 federal recreational season was adopted. This season was shorter than the 2011 season because of increased fishing effort and larger fish being caught, which caused the catch limit to be reached faster. 

May 2012 - FWC approved a 40-day, June 1 through July 10 recreational season for state waters. This season was the same as the proposed federal season.

2012 - Season extended in state and federal waters a total of 6 days, with the final day of harvest being July 16. NOAA Fisheries decided to extend the federal season because bad weather in June led to decreased fishing opportunities and effort.

April 2013 - FWC approved a 44-day season in state waters, June 1 through July 14. This season was inconsistent with the federal season. The Commission chose to go inconsistent based on reports that the upcoming federal stock assessment would likely show red snapper populations are doing better than previously thought and reports from anglers that the fishery is improving.

May 2013 - Federal season set to 26 days off Florida. This season was changed to 28 days on June 5 after a court ruled against an emergency rule giving the agency the authority to adjust seasons off each Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) state based on whether their state-water seasons and bag limits were consistent with federal regulations. On May 31, 2013, the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas, set aside that emergency rule. As a result of this Court decision, the federal recreational red snapper season must be the same in federal waters off all five Gulf states. The federal season started June 1 and ran through June 28.

September 2013 –NOAA Fisheries announces a quota increase for red snapper from 8.46 million pounds to 11 million pounds. Federal waters reopened for harvest of red snapper from Oct. 1 through Oct. 14. State waters also reopened Oct. 1 through Oct. 21 to provide additional opportunities for anglers fishing in state waters.

December 2013 –The2014 federal season was 40 days, running June 1 through July 10.

April 2014 – FWC approved a 52-day season in Gulf state waters, May 24 (the Saturday before Memorial Day) through July 14. This season was inconsistent with the federal season. The Commission chose this season as a way to increase harvest opportunities for private anglers fishing in state waters, especially over a holiday weekend.

May 2014 – Federal season revised to be 9 days, running June 1 through June 9. The federal season was shorted due to a lawsuit over the management of the recreational component of the red snapper fishery. In response to the lawsuit, NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf Council were required to take action to prevent the recreational sector from exceeding its quota in 2014 and beyond. The shortened federal season also takes into account inconsistent seasons in state waters of Florida, Texas and Louisiana.

April 2015 - FWC approved a 70-day season in Gulf state waters, opening the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 23 in 2015), through July 12, resuming for Saturdays and Sundays in September and October including Labor Day. Since Oct. 31 falls on a Saturday in 2015, the last day of harvest is Sunday, Nov. 1. The Commission chose this season as a way to increase harvest opportunities for anglers over a holiday weekend. In addition, many stakeholders in the past have commented on the importance of fishing opportunities in the fall, which lead to the inclusion of fall weekends in September and October, and another holiday (Labor Day).



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