FWC approves 78-day recreational red snapper 2017 season in Gulf waters

At its meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the 2017 Gulf state waters recreational red snapper season.

The 78-day Gulf recreational red snapper season will be as follows:

Open Saturdays and Sundays in May starting the first Saturday in May.

Open daily starting the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 27) through Sunday following Independence Day (July 9).

Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, plus Labor Day (Sept. 4).

While the season provides residents of Panhandle towns a good number of days to target red snapper in state waters, other anglers on Florida’s west and southwest coasts won’t be so easily able to enjoy red snapper fishing. In those regions, red snapper don’t commonly live within state waters, which extend 9 miles from Gulf shores, but the red snapper are available in federal waters. So anglers in those regions depend on open days in the federal waters season to catch their fish. That federal season, however, still has not been set, and last year it was only a few days, giving anglers in those regions only a small window to fish for red snapper from their home ports.

“Road trip, anyone?” That idea of taking a summer road trip to the Panhandle might still be the best chance Tampa-area and others to the south have to get on red snapper this summer on their own boats. The red snapper fishery in Gulf waters is stuck in an absurd dilemma, whereby so many larger fish are available to catch so quickly, that seasons are woefully short before quotas are filled.

Meanwhile, commercial interests in the Gulf fisheries are still making bank off the red snapper resource.

Learn more about red snapper at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snappers.”

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