June 15, 2023
Anglers like Rob Parmentier and family, fishing on federally permitted charterboats in the Gulf of Mexico, have been catching red snapper like this along the Florida Gulf Coast since June 1. That’s when the 2023 for-hire red snapper season opened. Parmentier, President/CEO of Sailfish Boats in Cairo, Georgia, was fishing out of Panama City Beach.
Starting June 16, private recreational vessels get a crack at these fish, too, with a season that will run through July 31. The private recreational season will reopen in the fall for 3-day weekends during October and November.
The “for hire” season, meaning days available to charterboats with federal reef fish permits, will close at 12:01 a.m. on August 25. (Commercial vessels with access to Individual Fishing Quota have been fishing long before then…they choose their days.)
NOAA Fisheries recently announced a minor increase in catch limits for Gulf red snapper, taking the recreational sector from 3,191,958 pounds to 3,380,574 pounds. Proportional increases also apply to commercial and for-hire fishermen. The commercial sector holds the majority of the Gulf snapper allocation, and it’s concentrated in the hands of a few hundred quota-permit holders, a source of contention to both recreational anglers and newer commercial fishers as well.
Recreational bag limit for Gulf red snapper is 2 per person, and minimum size is 16 inches total length. In addition to fishing licenses, anglers targeting red snapper (and most other reef fish) must sign up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey at the point of license purchaser.
For information on the (very) limited South Atlantic "season," see this story here: https://www.floridasportsman.com/editorial/red-snapper-season-announced-for-south-atlantic/474100