Louisiana sets own red snapper season

File photo by JOE MACALUSOThe size differences among these three red snapper is noticeable. The smaller one weighed 13 pounds and the larger snapper weighed out at 26 pounds. The middle snapper is a 19 pounder. All three fish meet the federally mandated 16-inch minimum size limit for recreationally-taken red snapper. Other federal rules for the 40-day recreational red snapper season that begins Friday call for anglers to use circle hooks (below), to have a venting tool and bans the use of stainless steel hooks to take all reef fish. Show caption
File photo by JOE MACALUSOThe size differences among these three red snapper is noticeable. The smaller one weighed 13 pounds and the larger snapper weighed out at 26 pounds. The middle snapper is a 19 pounder. All three fish meet the federally mandated 16-inch minimum size limit for recreationally-taken red snapper. Other federal rules for the 40-day recreational red snapper season that begins Friday call for anglers to use circle hooks (below), to have a venting tool and bans the use of stainless steel hooks to take all reef fish.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and state fisheries managers reaffirmed their intention to open the recreational red snapper season March 22 in state waters.

The LWFC and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reaffirmed a declaration that the state's boundaries will include all waters out to three marine leagues, or 10.357 miles, into the Gulf of Mexico, and that the daily limit will be three red snapper per angler with a 16-inch minimum "keeper" size for each red snapper.

The move defies the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's 2013 plan for a 27-day recreational red snapper beginning June 1 with a daily limit of two red snapper per angler.

Louisiana joins Texas as the only two of the five Gulf States in "noncompliance" status for this species. Texas has no season within the nine miles of its state waters.

Louisiana's plan, approved last June, opens the season on the Saturday of the weekend prior to Easter (March 22 this year) and allows for Friday-through-Sunday recreational fishing days throughout the summer. The state regulations allow for four-day "seasons" (Friday-Monday) on Memorial Day and Labor Day holiday weekends.

There was no immediate response from the GMFMC, which is meeting in Mobile, Ala. to discuss. among other items, regulatory amendments to the 2013 red snapper quotas for Gulf of Mexico recreational and commercial fishing activities.