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Gulf Red Snapper FAQs

2019 Gulf Red Snapper Season Details

Private Anglers

When: June 11-July 12 (possible fall opening if quota is available)

Where: State and federal waters

Must sign up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey

State Charter Operations

When: June 11-July 12 (possible fall opening if quota is available)

Where: State waters ONLY

Must sign up as a State Gulf Reef Fish Charter (see details below)

When: June 1-Aug. 1


  • Federal waters: June 1-Aug. 1
  • State waters: June 11-July 12 (only fish in state waters when the federal season overlaps with the open Florida state season).

Pilot Program Details

Florida and each Gulf state are testing pilot programs to set their own recreational red snapper season in their state and adjacent federal waters through an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) that has been issued by NOAA Fisheries.

Florida’s pilot program allows FWC to test state management in both Florida’s Gulf state and federal waters for 2018 and 2019, including data collection and quota monitoring.

In order to participate in the recreational red snapper season, private recreational anglers must sign up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey and state charter operations (without a federal reef fish permit) must sign up as a State Gulf Reef Fish Charter.

This pilot program does NOT apply to commercial fishermen or for-hire/charter vessels with a valid federal Gulf of Mexico Charter/Headboat Permit for Reef Fish.


State Gulf Reef Fish Charter

As a state for-hire operator, IF you and your customers intend to fish or harvest red snapper and other specific reef fish (vermillion snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, or almaco jack) in Gulf of Mexico state waters (excluding Monroe County), you MUST sign up as a State Gulf Reef Fish Charter.

Sign up by going to your local tax collector’s office and requesting the “State Gulf Reef Fish Charter” designation. Your charter license will be printed with this designation at no charge.

State-licensed captains that do not run red snapper or reef fish trips in the Gulf of Mexico are not required to sign up for the pilot study, but are prohibited from keeping red snapper and reef fish under this EFP.


Red Snapper Harvest and Data Collection Details

All anglers are encouraged to use descending devices and venting tools when releasing discards.

All anglers must follow the 16-inch total length minimum size limit and two fish bag limit.

How will recreational data collection occur for this season?

Under the pilot program, FWC must monitor recreational red snapper harvest and effort.  This will be done through two methods:

1)      Gulf Reef Fish Survey (GRFS)

  • Mail survey designed for private recreational anglers to help improve reef fish recreational data collection and supplement the current recreational data collection process known as the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP).

2)      MRIP For-Hire Telephone Survey and Dockside Intercept Survey

  • Under the pilot program, these will be modified to enhance data collection from state-licensed for-hire operations that target red snapper and reef fish during the Gulf red snapper season.
  • iAngler voluntary smartphone/tablet app
    • Anglers and state captains are encouraged to voluntarily report information about their red snapper trips via the app. Download now in your smartphone app store.
    • This is supplementary to GRFS and MRIP, and anglers and captains who choose to report though the app will still be asked to participate in the GRFS and MRIP surveys.

Additional FAQs

Can I fish in federal waters off Florida, if Florida waters are closed and land in another state during their open season?

  • Yes, but you must land in a state open to red snapper harvest.
  • Anglers can fish anywhere in federal waters, including federal waters off a state with a closed season, if the state where they intend to land is open.

Gulf Reef Fish Survey research information