Surprise: Red snapper season starts on Friday

In this Tuesday, March 31, 2009 photo released by The Ocean Conservancy, a fisherman scoops ice onto a bin full of freshly-caught red snapper in Destin, Fla.,  The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets in New Orleans on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 to consider increased fishing quotas and a second 2013 season for red snapper, one of the region's most popular game and eating fish. (AP Photo/The Ocean Conservancy, Tom McCann) Show caption
In this Tuesday, March 31, 2009 photo released by The Ocean Conservancy, a fisherman scoops ice onto a bin full of freshly-caught red snapper in Destin, Fla., The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets in New Orleans on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 to consider increased fishing quotas and a second 2013 season for red snapper, one of the region's most popular game and eating fish. (AP Photo/The Ocean Conservancy, Tom McCann)

In an unprecedented move, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced Monday that the state recreational red snapper season will open in state waters at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The announcement continues the season mandates set in 2013 when the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission opened the first-ever state recreational season on red snapper.

Included in the state's regulations is a limit to weekend-only perioeds, which limits recreational take of red snapper to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, except for four-day, Friday-through-Monday periods on Memorial Day and labor Day weekends.

The current action reduced the daily limit to two fish with a minimum-size limit of 16 inches. The 2013 state season allowed a three-fish-per-day take.

Anglers also will be required to have in possession the state's no-fee Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess red snapper, among other species. Fishermen can renew or obtain permits via the LDWF website: rolp.wlf.la.gov.

In its 2013 action, the commission also gave LDWF secretary Robert Barham the authority to open, close and limit the daily take, and extended Louisiana fishing waters to three marine leagues (10.357 miles) into the Gulf of Mexico instead of the three-mile limit recognized by the federal government.

The release further stated, "LDWF officials encourage fishermen to use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three mile boundary that is currently recognized as federal waters, as it is full expected that federal agents will continue to enforce federal law. Until the time when the U.S. Congress confirms Louisiana's (three marine league) action, the battle will continue over Louisiana's state water boundary."

The move puts Louisiana and Texas as the only two states that will have an allowed recreational red snapper season outside the federal season, which is expected to begin June 1. Texas has a year-round red snapper season in its 9-mile state waters.