Louisiana recreational red snapper season extended

The Fisheries Section inside the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration revised estimates in the overall quota/allocation for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, a move that resulted in Louisiana's recreational red snapper fishermen getting a June 1-June 24 season this year.

That 24-day season is a twice-changed offering from NOAA, through the National Marine Fisheries Service via the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

The initial plan called for a Gulf-side 27-day recreational red snapper season beginning June 1. When the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission decided to set seasons and daily creel limits for red snapper, the GMFMC rerional director and NOAA-appointee Roy Crabtree, determined that Louisiana should receive a 9-day season for federal waters off the Louisiana coast. Louisiana opened its season in late March, decided on a three-per-day creel limit (the federal limit is 2 per day) and extended its weekened-fishing-only season through September.

In its announcement Thursday, NOAA Fisheries determined that the overall quota in the gulf for 2013 is 8.46 million pounds, up from 8.08 million pounds in 2012. Commercial fisheries get 51 percent of the quota (4.315 million pounds) and recreational fishermen receive the balance, 49 percent or 4.145 million pounds.
NOAA Fisheries also outlined the seasons for the five Gulf States with all seasonsin federal waters beginning June 1 and including a two-per-day limiit per person with a legal minimum size limit of 16 inches for red snapper:

For Louisiana, a season to run until 12:01 a.m. June 25 local time;

For Texas, a season to run until 12:01 a.m. June 18 local time;

For Florida, a season to run until 12:01 a.m. June 27 local time;

And, for Mississippi and Alabama, a season to run until 12:01 a.m. July 5, local time.

Louisiana, Texas and Florida have instituted seasons in their state waters that NOAA Fisheries deems to be "inconsistent regulations," in that these three states set seasons and daily creel limits outside the framework federa managers set for takinig red snapper in federal waters, which run from state boundary waters out to 200 miles.