U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Extension of Federal Gulf Red Snapper Season
Sportfishing industry supports effort to improve recreational fishing access
Alexandria, Va. – June 14, 2017 – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) supports the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement to expand the 2017 private recreational fishing season for Gulf of Mexico red snapper.
The plan, which will provide 39 additional days of red snapper fishing in federal waters, was the result of negotiations between the Department of Commerce and the Gulf states to improve recreational access after a record low three-day federal season was implemented earlier in June. Changes would only apply to private recreational anglers – not commercial or charter fishing.
“Today’s announcement providing additional Gulf red snapper fishing days is a welcome relief for the thousands of tackle shops, marinas, equipment manufacturers and other businesses who have suffered from decreasing public access to Gulf red snapper in recent years,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Conservation director. “We greatly appreciate the leadership of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Garret Graves (R-La.) and Austin Scott (R-Ga.) along with the Gulf states’ marine fisheries agencies’ directors for working diligently to pursue this action.”
The original 2017 recreational red snapper season in Gulf federal waters was held June 1-3. The extended season will be 39 days total, consisting of three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) from Friday, June 16 through Monday, September 4. Fishing will also be allowed on Monday and Tuesday, July 3-4 and Monday, September 4.
In exchange for these additional fishing days, red snapper harvest will not be allowed in state or federal waters on Monday through Thursday during the summer (with the exception of holidays). Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas may have additional fishing days in state waters in the fall depending on harvest estimates from the summer season.
“We appreciate this immediate action to extend the 2017 red snapper season, but recognize that there’s much more work to be done,” noted Leonard. “ASA will continue to push for long-term solutions for the federal fisheries management system as a whole, and Gulf red snapper specifically, to better achieve conservation goals and public access.”