FWC Announces Gulf Red Snapper Rules
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a rule Thursday, June 9, 2011 that makes the recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf of Mexico state waters consistent with the recently announced season in Gulf federal waters. This year's open recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf state waters will be June 1 through July 18. Florida state waters in the Gulf extend out to nine nautical miles from shore; federal waters extend beyond that line.
Gulf red snapper stocks are rebuilding, but are still considered to be undergoing overfishing, which means that red snapper are being taken at a rate greater than established management goals for this fishery. Shortening the fishing season in Gulf state waters this year will help to avoid a harvest overrun and continue to rebuild red snapper populations so that longer red snapper fishing seasons will be possible in the future.
The Commission also gave the FWC's executive director the approval to use his executive authority to allow an additional harvest season for red snapper in the Gulf at the summer's end if NOAA Fisheries Service implements a supplemental season.