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Jun 5, 2013 4:43 PM by MELISSA CANONE(PHOTO COURTESY OF MGN Online)

Changes to the Recreational Red Snapper Season

Earlier this year, NOAA Fisheries published an emergency rule giving the agency the authority to adjust seasons off each Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) state based on whether their state-water seasons and bag limits were consistent with federal regulations. On May 31, 2013, the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas, set aside that emergency rule.

As a result of this Court decision, the federal recreational red snapper season must be the same in federal waters off all five Gulf states. Considering the catches expected later in the year during the extended state-water seasons off Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, NOAA Fisheries projects the Gulf-wide federal recreational red snapper season can be 28 days long. Federal waters of the Gulf will close to recreational red snapper harvest at 12:01 a.m., June 29, 2013.

NOAA Fisheries reminds all federally permitted for-hire vessels that they must abide by the stricter federal regulations, and after the federal water closure, they will not be allowed to harvest and retain recreationally caught red snapper in open state waters.

For more information about how the season was calculated, please see the NOAA Fisheries 2013 Red Snapper Recreational Season Length Report.

A list of frequently asked questions can be found at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site.

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