South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Takes Action To Open 2017 and 2018 Red Snapper Seasons
-Keep Florida Fishing Praises 2017 Action, and Final Decision to Open 2018 South Atlantic Red Snapper for Harvest-
(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) – Keep Florida Fishing expressed their support for measures passed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to open red snapper to harvest in South Atlantic federal waters for 2017 and 2018. The Council discussed the changes during their meeting Monday in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Council requested an emergency action from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to open a 2017 red snapper season in South Atlantic federal waters. The request was driven by new information on recent increases in the east coast red snapper stock. A final decision from NMFS on the request is expected shortly. If approved, a conservative season, estimated between 6-12 days, for anglers could open in late October or early November. Recreational fishermen would be able to keep one fish per day with no minimum size limit.
The Council also took final action on Amendment 43 to open a limited 2018 red snapper season. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the estimated 4-7 day season would be open for anglers on weekend days beginning July 13, 2018. As with the 2017 proposal, anglers would be able to keep one fish per day with no minimum size limit.
“After years of limited to zero days of recreational red snapper fishing in the South Atlantic, the Council’s support to open the fishery for harvest in 2017 and 2018 is a victory for Florida anglers. The sportfishing community must also continue pushing for improvements to federal recreational fisheries management in order to improve access to our public resources,” said Kellie Ralston, Florida Fishery Policy Director of the American Sportfishing Association.
“Red snapper is one of the most popular sport fish in Florida, and the reopening of this fishery in South Atlantic waters will greatly benefit our coastal communities that rely on the economic activity driven by recreational fishing. We are optimistic that the federal government will continue to work towards a long-term solution to the issues that have plagued our state’s red snapper fisheries,” said Gary Jennings, Director of Keep Florida Fishing.
Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World,” with more than 3 million anglers who generate $9.6 billion in economic impact, support more than 128,000 jobs and contribute $53.3 million to state conservation efforts through license fees and special taxes on motor boat fuel and equipment.