Southeastern Fisheries Bulletin for the Gulf of Mexico red snapper season
September 13, 2013
'NOAA announces a quota increase for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper and a 14 day supplemental recreational season beginning October 1, 2013.
NOAA Fisheries announces a rule increasing the allowable catch for red snapper from 8.46 million pounds to 11 million pounds. The recreational quota will increase from 4.145 million pounds to 5.39 million pounds. The commercial quota will increase from 4.315 million pounds to 5.61 million pounds.
Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will open for red snapper recreational fishing beginning October 1 at 12.01 A.M. local time. The season will close on October 15, 2013 at 12.01 A.M. local time.'
Fortunately, NOAA through the Gulf Coast Council has finally determined what most of us already knew. Red snapper stocks are very healthy and could stand a longer season. I am certain the timing of an October date accidentally coincided with hunting season. As such, NOAA should have little to fear of recreational anglers reaching the 5.39 million pounds allowed.
Having said that, with all due respect to the Gulf Coast Council, due to the tardiness of gathering information, (often 12 to 24 months in arrears) at least they did see the error of the short red snapper season and sought to correct it. I trust now that enough information has been processed by the Gulf Coast Council, that next year perhaps a much longer recreational season would be forthcoming.
The problem still remains of the Gulf being considered one big pond, when there are at least 3 sections that are fished quite differently from each other. The panhandle has one set of circumstances, while the Central Gulf Coast has an entirely different set of circumstances and the Lower Gulf Coast has even a different take on red snapper.
In a recent interview with one of the Gulf Coast Council research people, this difference in such a huge area is being studied with hopefully a realistic look at the seasons and ramifications of each of the areas mentioned.