NOAA announced the 2017 Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper recreational seasons in federal waters Tuesday morning.
The private angling federal recreational season and the federally permitted for-hire components will open June 1 at 12:01 a.m. The private angling season will close June 4 at 12:01 a.m. The for-hire season ends July 20 at 12:01 a.m., a stretch of 49 days.
In an effort to maintain and build on the progress made with the red snapper population, NOAA needed to set the federal recreational season lengths to keep fishing catches within their targets as mandated by the Magnuson Stevens Act and identified by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
One of the key reasons behind this year’s season lengths is that there are more red snapper out there and anglers are catching them faster, landing them at two and half times the rate they did a decade ago.
Red snapper are also more than twice the size as in 2007, on average going from 3.3 pounds a decade ago to 7.25 pounds last year.
The quota for private anglers this year is 3,755,094 pounds while the catch target is set at 3,004,075. For federal for-hire season, the quota is 2,848,00 pounds and the catch target is 2,278,000.