Red Snapper Season Update is Good News for Fisherman

September 06, 2013  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Good news for fisherman! One of Florida’s favorite sports fish, Red Snapper, will have a supplemental recreational season open up once again from Oct 1-21, 2013 in Gulf State Waters. The Florida Wildlife Commission has just approved it at the September Commission meeting.

A supplemental season for Gulf federal waters may very well be in the future as well. That decision is being held until the recreation harvest estimates for the regular 2013 season are completed. They are still being analyzed by federal fishery managers. It is expected that NOAA Fisheries will be able to make an announcement in the next few weeks regarding a federal season for red snapper in October.

This year the red snapper season in State waters was a 44-day season (from June 1 through July 14, closing July 15). State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in Gulf waters. In Federal waters the season had been a 28-day season (June 1 through June 28 closing June 29). Federal waters extend beyond that line to 200 nautical miles.

The yearly quota for how many pounds of red snapper can be harvested has increased in the past few years, yet the length of the federal season has shortened. Federal fishery managers say this is because there are more fishing red snapper and fishing for the larger red snapper.

Red snapper are long-lived, early-maturing reef fish. They can live to be 57. It is the larger females, however, that contribute the most eggs. It is important to maintain and abundance of the older and larger fish for a sustainable red snapper stock.

In 2013 the FWC chose to go ‘inconsistent” with the federal season. They based their decision on the reports that the upcoming federal stock assessment would most likely show that the red snapper population was doing better than the first reports.

The minimum size limit for red snapper is 16’’ and the limit is be 2 per person per

day– within a 10-fish snapper aggregate limit. Recreational and commercial fishers in Gulf waters off Florida are required to use circle hooks and dehooking devices when fishing for reef fish of which red snapper is included. The requirement for venting tools was eliminated as of September 3, 2013. FWC will consider consistency for Gulf state waters at a future Commission meeting. The rule had been instituted in 2008 and since then, other methods have been discovered that help improve the survival of released fish.

Red Snapper has good reason to be on the top of the list with both Florida Fishermen and Florida cooks. It is a strong fighting fish found in deep waters. Snapper are known to use strong, head-shaking tactics, insuring a great challenge to the fisherman.  Its meat has a fine texture with a delicate flavor that lends itself to many ways of cooking. The whole fish can be broiled, grilled, pan-fried, steamed, baked or deep-fried, its skin having an excellent taste to it. Some various recipes can be found  at http://www.myrecipes.com/t/fish/red-snapper/.

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