The recreational red snapper season will open Aug. 23 through Aug. 25 in south Atlantic federal waters. Anglers are being asked by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help them gather information about the important Atlantic red snapper fishery.
FWC researchers and volunteers will be out along Florida’s east coast during each day of the season, asking recreational fishers about their red snapper trips and their catch. Researchers will also collect biological samples of harvested fish to help determine the age of each red snapper. Biologists sampled more than 2,000 red snapper during the federal opening in 2012.
Anglers have no need to fret about the table fare either. The days harvest can still go home to the dinner table, since sampling will not affect the fillet.
Anglers’ survey responses and biological samples will give researchers valuable data about the red snapper fishery. Building a data base of red snapper information will give fisheries scientists information they can use in future population assessments.
While the federal opening will have no size limit and a bag limit of one fish per person per day, in Florida state waters there is a 20-inch total length minimum size limit, in addition to a bag limit of two fish per person, per day. Vessels with red snapper smaller than the state’s minimum size limit must travel through state waters without stopping and have fishing gear stowed.
If an angler catches a tagged red snapper, FWC researchers ask that they report it to the Angler Tag Return Hotline: 800-367-4461. When calling the hotline, anglers should indicate the species, tag number, date and time of capture, catch location, fish length, type of bait used and whether the fish was kept or released. If the fish is released, the angler is asked to leave the tag in place to help with future data collection.
For more information about red snapper sampling efforts, visit MyFWC.com/Research. For information on red snapper regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing, and click on “Recreational Regulations” under “Saltwater” and then select “Atlantic Snappers.”
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Angler Alert: Don’t forget to log you catch online at the Angler Action Program.