Gulf Council ups quota, approves possible fall red snapper season

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)

Recreational fishermen could have as much as a 21-day fall season on red snapper if data from the recently concluded June season shows the recreational fishing sector did not catch its quota of red snapper for the year.

Prospects of additional recreational days came after the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved the third different red snapper quota for the year at a special meeting Wednesday.

The Council approved a jump from 8.46 million pounds to 11 million pounds total allowable catch for 2013.

According to a breakdown of the resource, recreational anglers get 49 percent of that allowed catch, and commercial fishermen get 51 percent, which means the recreational sector is allowed 5.39 million pounds this year, while the commercial industry receives 5.61 million pounds.

The length of the additional recreational days will be determined sometime in mid-August after the National Marine Fisheries Service determines the Gulfwide recreational take during the June season.

The Council approved an Oct. 1 opener for the pending recreational season, which will run on consecutive days. The season's duration could be lengthened or shortened depending on the mid-August findings.
According to Camp Matens, one of three Louisiana representatives on the council, the most likely scenario calls for an Oct. 1-16 recreational season.

Matens said the 11-million pound TAC is in place for 2014 and 2015, but could be revised on a Council vote pending new catch information and other data.