Sportfishing Industry Applauds Opening of South Atlantic Red Snapper Fishery

Voluntary reporting and use of best fishing practices will help ensure a robust fishery

November 1, 2017 – Alexandria, Va. – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) praised NOAA Fisheries’ decision to allow a South Atlantic red snapper fishery season for the first time since 2014. Anglers may harvest one red snapper per day November 3-5, and November 10-12, in federal waters from North Carolina through the entire East Coast of Florida.

“For the past several years, anglers and businesses throughout the South Atlantic region have been frustrated by a lack of access to an abundant red snapper fishery,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Conservation director. “Thankfully, NOAA Fisheries and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, working with the recreational fishing community, are using modern science and technology to reopen this important fishery. This will provide significant benefits to the region’s economy, both this year and, hopefully, for years to come.”

During its September meeting, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council requested an emergency action from NOAA Fisheries to open a limited 2017 red snapper season in South Atlantic federal waters. The request was driven by the latest information on recent increases in the east coast red snapper stock.

To help provide much needed information on recreational harvest, anglers are strongly encouraged to record their catch at www.myfishcount.com. This information is critical to accurately assessing the health of the South Atlantic red snapper stock and improving future access to the fishery.

Anglers are also encouraged to use the following best fishing practices during the season:
• Avoid areas likely to have red snapper if you already have met your recreational bag limit.
• When red snapper is out of season; avoid areas where they are common.
• Use single hook rigs since the recreational bag limit for red snapper during the limited fishing season is one per person per day. This will potentially reduce the number of red snapper that are caught on one drop.
• Non-offset circle hooks are less likely to cause injury than J hooks.
• Use a dehooking device to remove the hook. Keep fish in the water if you plan to release them or return them as quickly as possible.
• Use descending devices when releasing fish with signs of barotrauma.

“Voluntary reporting and best fishing practices are longstanding priority areas for ASA, so we are encouraged to see them incorporated into the decision to reopen the South Atlantic red snapper fishery,” said Leonard. “Because this is the first time these concepts have been applied in this fishery, we ask that industry members throughout the region help us in spreading the word to anglers about the importance of self-reporting and using best fishing practices.”