All fishermen fishing for reef-associated species (snapper, grouper, triggerfish and amberjack) must possess and utilize the tools described below:
Dehooking tool: The hook removal device is required to be constructed toallow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging duringthe removal process. This requires the dehooking end to be blunt, and all edgesrounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hooksizes and styles used in the reef-fish fishery.
Venting tool: The venting tool must be a sharpened, hollow instrument, such asa hypodermic syringe with the plunger removed, or a 16-gauge needle fixed toa hollow wooden dowel. Use of tools such as a knife or ice pick is not permissible.
Hooks: NON-stainless steel circle hooks are required when using natural baitswhile fishing for all reef species including red snapper.
All fishermen fishing for reef-associated species (snapper, grouper, triggerfish and amberjack) must possess and utilize the tools described below:
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a 44-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters at its meeting April 17 in Tallahassee. State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in Gulf waters.This season will start June 1 and end July 14. It is inconsistent with the current proposed federal season.Federal fishery managers recently passed a rule that grants NOAA Fisheries the authority to shorten the federal recreational red snapper season off states that adopt inconsistent red snapper regulations. The current estimate of the recreational red snapper season is 21 days in federal waters off the Gulf coast of Florida.While the federal limit for how many pounds of red snapper can be caught has increased, the season length has gotten shorter over the past few years because of more fishing effort and larger fish, according to federal fishery managers.The Commission chose to go inconsistent based on reports that the upcoming federal stock assessment would likely show red snapper populations are doing better than previously thought and reports from anglers that the fishery is improving.For more on the proposal that was given to the Commission, visit MyFWC.com/Commission.
On March 25, 2013, a temporary emergency rule willpublish in the Federal Register that gives NOAA Fisheries the authority to set separate closure dates forthe recreational red snapper season in federal waters off individual Gulf of Mexico states. The closure dates willdepend on whether state regulations are consistent with federal regulations for the recreational red snapper season length or bag limit. This action was requested by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council at their February meeting to provide a fairer and more equitable distribution of recreational red snapper fishing opportunities among anglers in all the Gulf of Mexicostates.The federal recreational season for Gulf of Mexico red snapper begins June 1 each year with a 2-fish bag limit. The length of the season is determined by the amount of the quota, the average weight of fish landed, and the estimated catch rates over time. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for ensuring the entire recreational harvest, including harvest in state waters, does not exceed the recreational quota. Therefore, if states establish a longer season or a larger bag limit for state waters than the federal regulations allow in federal waters, the federal season must be adjusted to account for the additional harvest expected in state waters.If all states were to implement consistent regulations, the 2013 recreational season would be 28 days, assuming the recreational quota is increased to 4.145 million pounds through separate rule-making. However, Texas,Louisiana, and Florida have indicated they will implement inconsistent red snapper regulations for their state waters. Therefore, without this emergency rule, the 2013 federal season would be reduced to 22 days to compensate for that additional expected harvest.This emergency rule allows NOAA Fisheries tocalculate the recreational red snapper fishing season separately in the EEZ off each state to account for anyinconsistency of regulations in state waters. Based onthe expected regulations for Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, the preliminary season lengths would be as follows: Texas, 12 days; Louisiana, 9 days; Mississippiand Alabama, 28 days; and Florida, 21 days
The state of Louisiana is apparently going to continue its game of chicken with the feds to see who will blink first in the battle over red-snapper management off the Bayou State coast.
Randy Pausina, assistant secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, on Thursday told the commission that manages his agency that Louisiana was unsuccessful in its push to get regional management as part of the federal red-snapper framework for the 2013 season.
Louisiana had made the plea to the Gulf Council, a board that manages fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Members voted down the proposal, Pausina told the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
So that means Louisiana will move ahead with its plan to open open red snapper fishing in state waters beginning March 23. Thereafter, the season will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September, and will also be open Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Anglers will each be limited to three red snapper, measuring no less than 16 inches long, per day.
In 2012, the state Legislature and the commission declared that Louisiana was taking control of waters out to three nautical leagues, or 10.357 miles. Historically, the waters out to 3 miles off the coast were considered to be Louisiana’s.
View full sizeLouisiana has historically claimed only the waters 3 miles off its coast, but last year, the state extended that line to more than 10 miles. That will greatly affect which oil and gas rigs are fair game for anglers to target red snapper. (Photo by Todd Masson, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) At the commission meeting, Louisiana Charter Boat Association president Daryl Carpenter asked Pausina whose waters those were.
“We both claim them,” Pausina said.
“Kind of like smoking a joint in Colorado?” Carpenter asked.
“Exactly,” Pausina responded.
It remains to be seen if federal agents will attempt to enforce federal regulations from 3 miles out to 10.357 miles.
The Gulf Council is currently considering a proposal that would grant regional management to states for the 2014 season, but it’s really just restating bad regulations, Louisiana Wildlife Federation representative Chris Macaluso told the commission.
“We’ve reviewed the proposal, and it gives you flexibility with season dates but not with management,” he said. “It allows the department seasonal creel limits, but there’s no flexibility with the number of fish taken.”
Macaluso said studies show recovery rates in the northern Gulf are substantially higher than those in the eastern Gulf.
“The larval count is eight times higher in the northern Gulf than the east, and the pressure is substantially higher in the eastern Gulf, yet they’re all governed by the same rules,” he said.
Under the Gulf Council’s proposal, a quota overage in one portion of the Gulf would reduce the quota allowance in another part, Macaluso said.
“The scientific data shows you have many more fish in Louisiana than you have in Florida, so how can you practicably manage it as one stock?” Macaluso wondered.
Louisiana’s dates will be made official on Feb. 20 when they are published in the state’s register.
Anglers fishing in Louisiana waters will have 86 days in the season. In federal waters, anglers will have only 27 days, according to commissioner Billy Broussard.
This year’s state season, which is the same as the 2012 federal recreational red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico, was set in May at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting.
Florida state waters in the Gulf extend from shore to nine nautical miles; federal waters extend beyond that line to 200 nautical miles.
The Gulf red snapper stock is improving, but the population still needs an increase in the number of older fish for it to be sustainable. Red snapper are estimated to live more than 50 years, but the current stock consists primarily of fish that are only a few years old. Older fish are the key to rebuilding the population, because older female red snapper produce more eggs than younger females. This season will help continue to rebuild the red snapper population so that more red snapper fishing opportunities will be possible in the future.
The 2012 red snapper season for federal waters and Florida state waters has been set, but future seasons could see drastic changes due to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commissions recent announcement.
The recreational red snapper season in Gulf of Mexico Florida state waters will be June 1 through July 10, a total of 40 days.
The state season is the same as the recently announced federal recreational red snapper season. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) also voted to keep a 40-day, June 1 through July 10 season regardless of whether the federal season is further shortened.
At this point the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) is projecting that it will take 40 days for the recreational sector to catch their total allowable catch (TAC), but if their numbers show the TAC is reached early they could potentially shorten the season.
Earlier this week the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took an unprecedented step to move forward and implement a “Louisiana-only” red snapper recreational season, set to begin in 2013.
This Louisiana red snapper weekend-only season would begin in March each year and end September 30 of the same year, with a recreational bag limit of three fish per day at a 16 inch minimum. A weekend is defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Memorial Day and Labor Day, when Monday would be classified as a weekend as well.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham was given the authority to modify the portions of this rule pertaining to red snapper recreational daily harvest limits and seasons if the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Survey institutes sub-regional management for the species or if it is otherwise deemed necessary.
The Gulf Council made up of representatives from each of the Gulf States, sets commercial and recreational fishing regulations, bag limits and minimum size rules for each species based on harvest limits established by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
That being said red snapper are managed by using an annual catch limit for the entire Gulf of Mexico. The limit for 2012 is 8.080 million pounds and it will be 8.690 million pounds in 2013.
Dr. Roy Crabtree, regional administrator of NOAA Fisheries Service’s Southeast Regional Office, has made in clear in the past that if individual states set their own seasons and are able to catch a larger portion of the annual catch limit than normal that amount will have to be reduced from the federal waters red snapper season.
The 2012 recreational red snapper season in Gulf of Mexico state waters will be June 1 through July 10, a total of 40 days.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the 2012 season Wednesday, May 2, at the Commission meeting in Crystal River.
The state season is the same as the recently announced federal recreational red snapper season. The Commission also voted to keep a 4
Gulf red snapper stocks are rebuilding their numbers, but the stock needs higher numbers of older fish to be sustainable. Red snapper are estimated to live more than 50 years, but most fish in the current stock are only a few years old. Older fish are the key to rebuilding the population because older female red snapper produce more eggs than younger females. Shortening the fishing season in Gulf state waters and going consistent with the federal season will help continue to rebuild red snapper populations so that more red snapper fishing opportunities will be possible in the future.0-day, June 1 through July 10 season regardless of whether the federal season is further shortened. Florida state waters in the Gulf extend out to nine nautical miles from shore; federal waters extend beyond that line.
“I think consistency is important,” said Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “The positive part is, looking at the recovery, we are going in the right direction in having long-term benefits for fishermen.”
The proposed rule, if implemented, would set the 2012 and 2013 quotas for commercial and recreational red snapper harvest.
The red snapper total allowable catch would be increased from 7.185 million pounds (MP) whole weight in 2011 to the following 8.080 MP in 2012 and 8.690 MP in 2013. The recreational allocation for 2012 would be 3.959 MP and commercial 4.121 MP.
Recreational landings exceeded the 2011 quota by 730,000 pounds. These landings also exceed the 2012 newly proposed quota, therefore, NOAA Fisheries Service has projected a 40 day season to prevent landings from going over the 2012 quota.
The recreational fishing season opens June 1, 2012. If these new quotas are implemented, the recreational season would be 40 days and would close on July 10, 2012.
In addition, if implemented, the rule would eliminate the fixed recreational red snapper closed season of October 1 – December 31. By eliminating the October 1 fishing season closure date, NOAA Fisheries Service would be able to re-open the recreational harvest for red snapper if any remaining quota is available, without the delay of additional rulemaking.
The population of red snapper is growing and the fish are getting bigger, so more large fish are being caught more quickly, which fills the recreational quota faster.
The Council approved and took final action on a regulatory amendment that increases the red snapper stock Annual Catch Limit for 2012 and 2013 to 8.080 million pounds and 8.690 million pounds respectively. No Annual Catch Targets were set. Sector quotas will be set equal to the sector Annual Catch Limits. The proposed 2013 increase will occur only if the 2012 stock Annual Catch Limit is not exceeded.Also related to red snapper, the Council discussed an options paper for a regulatory amendment that wouldconsider adjustments to the structure of the red snapper season by exploring weekend or weekday only redsnapper fishing for both the regular snapper season and for any supplemental seasons that may occur. TheCouncil selected the no action alternative as the preferred alternative for both actions, and tabled furtherdevelopment of the amendment.
The final decisions on the 2012 red snapper season have not yet been made and likely will not be finalized until late spring. Currently we are looking at the season opening on June 1 and your guess is as good as mine or the NMFS as for when it will close. They are taking comment from the public on whether we would like a regular season like we’ve had in past years or maybe a weekend season which would consist of fishing on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. Up for final action at the February Gulf Council meeting they are looking at increasing the 2012 annual catch limit and extending the current September 30 closure. Currently under no circumstances the red snapper season can go beyond September 30. At this point and time it doesn’t matter, but if an early hurricane was to come during snapper season and keep us out of the Gulf for a week this would give the National Marine Fisheries Service the opportunity to allow us to finish off the quota in the fall and winter. This was done under a special rule being passed following the BP Oil Spill.
Fall Season Options and 2012 Total Allowable Catch
Council will be presented with an options paper that provides more red snapper season management options, and options that may increase the 2012 Total Allowable Catch. The first action in the amendment considers a change to the recreational red snapper season end from the current September 30th closure (the season has closed before the September 30th season end for the past 3 years because NOAA Fisheries Service must close the recreational season when the quota is met or projected to be met). The amendment also considers the use of weekend or weekday only season scenarios instead of a continuous season. And finally, the amendment considers an increase to the 2012 Total Allowable Catch.
The Council will likely select preferred alternatives for each action during this next meeting. Now is a good time to read over the proposed actions and alternatives and send your thoughts to Council. The document can be found under tab B-13.
Stay Tuned: Public hearings on this amendment will be held across the Gulf before Council takes final action.
Payback Provisions for Annual Catch Limit Overages
Currently, if the Total Allowable Catch is exceeded then the following years Total Allowable Catch cannot be increased as scheduled. In this situation, if one sector (commercial or recreational) exceeds their annual quota and causes the Total Allowable Catch to be exceeded, then both sectors experience the consequences when there is not increase in the following year. The Council is considering adding an accountability measure that would require ‘payback’ in the following fishing season if a sector exceeds its annual catch limit. Therefore, if only one sector exceeds its quota then the other sector would not be held responsible for that overage.
During this meeting the Council will simply be discussing the issue, so it is the perfect time to get involved and voice your thoughts before momentum gathers in any direction. The discussion document can be found under tab B-14.
Restrict Individual Fishing Quota Transfer
When the red snapper Individual Fishing Quota Program was established it included a provision that would allow any U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien to buy and sell shares beginning in 2012. The Council will discuss a possible amendment that will restrict the transfer of red snapper Individual Fishing Quota shares to individuals that hold valid commercial reef fish permits. Because the Council is just starting to address this issue it is a good time to submit your comments. The discussion document can be found under tab B-15.
Five-Year Individual Fishing Quota Review
The commercial Individual Fishing Quota program was implemented in 2007. Recently an advisory panel was convened to conduct a five-year review of that program. The Council will begin discussing the development of an amendment that will address changes to the program that were recommended by the review panel. The discussion document can be found under tab B-17.
Source: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Coucil