Commercial, recreational red snapper season opens in South Atlantic; final rule to consider future seasons

Published 1:44 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NOAA has announced the August 2013 season opening of red snapper in the South Atlantic.

NOAA Fisheries will open the 2013 commercial and recreational red snapper fishing season in South Atlantic federal waters. The commercial red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, August 26.

The commercial season will end when the annual catch limit is projected is projected to be met. NOOA Fisheries will announce the closure. During the open commercial season, the daily trip limit is 75 pounds gutted weight and there is no minimum size limit for red snapper.

The recreational fishing season will open for one weekend made up of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday . The recreational red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, Aug. 23, and closes at 12:01 a.m. local time, on Aug. 26

During the open recreational season, the bag limit is one fish per person per day and  there is minimum size limit for red snapper.

NOAA fisheries may change the commercial and recreational season dates if severe weather conditions exist. If severe weathers conditions exist, NOAA Fisheries will announce via NOAA Weather Radio and a Fishery Bulletin any change in the red snapper fishing seasons.

After the conclusion of the commercial fishing season, harvest and possession of red snapper are limited to the bag limit unless the recreational sector is closed. After the conclusion of  the recreational fishing season, red snapper may not be harvested or possessed under the bag limit in federal waters of the South Atlantic.

Harvest and possession prohibitions also apply to state waters for vessels holding federal snapper-grouper permits.

The commercial and recreational catch limits for 2013 are 21,447 pounds gutted weight and 9,585 fish, respectively.The sector annual catch limit are based upon allocations previously decided by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Amendment 28 establishes the annual process to determine red snapper fishing seasons and harvest amounts. More specifically, Amendment 28 establishes:
1.A process to determine if a fishing season will occur each year, which would include specification of the allowable harvest for both sectors and season length for the recreational sector.
2. An equation to determine the annual catch limit amount for each sector
3.Management measures if fishing is allowed
The final rule for Amendment 28 is scheduled for publication July 24.

The intent of the 2013 red snapper opening and the actions in Amendment 28 are to provide fishermen the opportunity to harvest the red snapper annual catch limit and enhance the social and economic benefits to the fishery, states NOAA’s Fisheries Bulletin.