NOAA Fisheries announces limited opening of recreational and commercial red snapper seasons in south Atlantic federal waters

NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule for Amendment 43 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 43). This rule specifies recreational and commercial annual catch limits for red snapper beginning in 2018.

  • Red snapper recreational and commercial seasons will open in South Atlantic federal waters for limited harvest beginning in 2018.
  • The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved Amendment 43 after recent scientific information indicated an increase in the red snapper population since 2010.
  • NOAA Fisheries determined limited harvest beginning in 2018 is neither expected to result in overfishing, nor prevent continued rebuilding of the population.

When this rule will take effect:

  • The rule will take effect on July 26, 2018.
  • The recreational sector will open for harvest on weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) on the following days:
  • August 10, 11, and 12, 2018 – The recreational season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 10, 2018, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 13, 2018.
    August 17, 18, and 19, 2018 – The recreational season opens again at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 17, 2018, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 20, 2018.

  • The commercial sector will open for harvest upon publication of the final rule at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 26, 2018, and will close at 11:59 p.m., local time, on December 31, 2018, unless the commercial annual catch limit is met or projected to be met before this date.
  • NOAA Fisheries will announce if the commercial sector needs to close before December 31, 2018.

What this means:

  • The total annual catch limit will be 42,510 fish.
  • The recreational annual catch limit will be 29,656 fish.
  • The recreational bag limit will be one red snapper per person per day. This applies to private and charterboat/headboat vessels (the captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit).
  • The commercial annual catch limit will be 124,815 pounds whole weight (12,854 fish).
  • The commercial trip limit will be 75 pounds gutted weight.
  • There will be no minimum or maximum size limit for the recreational or commercial sectors.
  • NOAA Fisheries expects that beginning in 2019, commercial and recreational harvest will begin in July, as per Amendment 43 and the final rule.
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