The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service have announced the 2019 red snapper season for recreational anglers and charter boats in both federal and state waters off Florida.
Florida recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico will be allowed to harvest 32 days, while federally permitted for hire vessels will get 62 days to harvest the prized and table friendly red snapper. It just doesn’t seem fair to me, how about you?
Florida state waters in the Gulf of Mexico are from shore to nine nautical miles out and are managed by the FWC. Federal waters extend from where state waters end, out to about two hundred nautical miles and are managed by NOAA Fisheries.
The total quota for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico for both the commercial and recreational sectors in 2019 is 15.1 million pounds whole weight. The recreational sector is allocated 49% of that total, which is 7,399,000 pounds whole weight.
The red snapper total recreational quota of 7,399,000 pounds is allocated 57.7% to the private angling component and 42.3% to the for-hire component. The private angling annual catch target is 80% of its quota and the federal for-hire annual catch target is 91% of its quota. This buffer helps minimize the potential for a quota overage.
NOAA announced on March 7 the 2019 red snapper fishing season for federally permitted for-hire vessels would be 62 days in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The season will run June 1, 2019, 12:01 a.m, until August 2, 2019, at 12:01 a.m.
For the for-hire component the 2019 annual catch target for the federal for-hire component is 2,848,000 pounds whole weight. The number of days for the federal for-hire component to harvest its annual catch target was projected using recent catch rates and mean weights.
For the private angling component NOAA Fisheries issued exempted fishing permits for 2018 and 2019 that allow each Gulf state (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida) to set the season for the private angling component for red snapper caught in state and federal waters that are landed in that state.
At its February meeting in Gainesville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set the popular and economically important 2019 Gulf red snapper recreational season for Florida state waters to open June 11 through July 12, with a possible fall reopening if quota is available.
This season will apply to those fishing from private recreational vessels in state and federal waters and to charter vessels that do not have a federal reef fish permit and are limited to fishing in state waters only.