The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Thursday voted to adjust the recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf of Mexico state waters to account for over-harvests in 2008. The Commission took this action after receiving support from several fishing groups and conservation organizations at its public hearing in Crystal River.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has estimated that recreational fishers in the Gulf exceeded last year’s annual red snapper catch limit by about 1.2 million pounds. A federal law requires that harvest levels must be reduced in the year following a previous year’s overharvest.
Consequently, the NMFS shortened the recreational red snapper harvest season in Gulf federal waters (beyond nine nautical miles from shore) from June 1 through Sept. 30 to June 1 through Aug. 14. The FWC has now approved the same season change for state waters.
“Shortening the fishing season will reduce the harvest of Gulf red snapper in the short term and help rebuild the fishery’s population so that anglers can enjoy better red snapper fishing in the future,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.