2020 Red Snapper Season Uncertain in the South Atlantic

Tallahassee, Fla. – March 5, 2020 – Keep Florida Fishing (KFF), an advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), today expressed concern related to a Wednesday, March 4, NOAA Fisheries presentation on the potential for a 2020 South Atlantic red snapper season at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Snapper Grouper Committee meeting.

According to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) media release, NOAA Fisheries shared that “If a recreational season is allowed this year for red snapper, the season would last for three-days with a one fish per person daily bag limit.”

“Florida is known as the Fishing Capital of the World and should NOAA Fisheries decide on a zero or three-day red snapper season in the South Atlantic, it would place Florida’s angling and boating industries, along with surrounding businesses at an economic disadvantage,” said Gary Jennings, Director, Keep Florida Fishing. “On behalf of Florida’s more than four million anglers, we urge NOAA Fisheries to carefully review its findings to allow a reasonable season.”

According to the SAFMC media release, “The 2020 recreational opening is contingent on a change to current regulations that do not allow the recreational season to open if NOAA Fisheries determines the season to be three days or less. In December 2019, the Council approved an amendment to modify that restriction to allow for a shorter season. Regulatory Amendment 33 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan has been submitted to NOAA Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries plans to issue a Proposed Rule for public comment. A Final Rule to implement Regulatory Amendment 33 would need to be issued before the recreational season is allowed. The Council’s intent is to have the amendment in place prior to the 2020 season.”

The Council meeting was held this week in Jekyll Island, Ga., and concluded today, Thursday, March 5. Additional information, including links for briefing book materials, and committee reports is available from the Council’s website at: https://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/council-meetings/.