The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has approved the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries request for state managerial control of red snapper for private recreational anglers fishing in 2018 and 2019. Although Wildlife and fisheries requested to also manage the charter sector, NOAA has chosen to retain management authority for that sector and is expected to set a gulf-wide charter season in the near future.
The approval for the Wildlife and Fisherie’s Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) allows the state to manage the fishing of private recreational red snapper in both state and federal waters. The permit exempts Louisiana from certain federal regulations and allows the state to set those regulations in federal waters.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is expected to determine when the season should open and the number of red snapper harvested per day by each angler at its meeting in May. The application recommended that the state’s red snapper season open the Friday before Memorial Day, May 25 in both state and federal waters.
Private recreational anglers will be able to fish in both state and federal waters, but are required to hold a valid Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit in addition to regular basic and saltwater fishing licenses.
"Once the commission makes its determination, Louisiana anglers will be able to enjoy red snapper fishing under consistent regulations for both state and federal waters," said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. "State management of the red snapper season has been pushed for the past several years by the department and has received strong support from Gov. John Bel Edwards, along with other state and Congressional officials."
The state’s recreational landings data program, known as LA Creel, will monitor landings on a weekly basis. The fishing season will close when landings approach or reach the requested allocation of red snapper approved under the application. That allocation is equal to approximately 743,000 pounds of red snapper, which is the historical average annual harvest of the fish by the private recreational sector. LA Creel harvest monitoring will be coupled with a test of electronic harvest reporting via a smartphone app and online web portal. To participate under the terms of the EFP and to participate in the electronic reporting, visit https://rolp.wlf.la.gov.
State charter boats, those that do not have a federal reef fish permit, are not covered by the terms of this EFP. They can fish for red snapper in state waters only, when the season is open in such state waters.
The Commission will meet May 3 at the LDWF headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive.