July 27, 2018

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Announces Red Snapper Season for the South Atlantic

On July 23, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries announced a final rule for Amendment 43 that would allow for a limited 2018 red snapper season in the South Atlantic.

For the first time since 2014, anglers in the South Atlantic will enjoy two 3-day weekends fishing for red snapper. The season will be open August 10-12 and August 17-19 with each weekend opening at 12:01 AM local time on Friday and ending at 12:01 AM local time on the following Monday.

NOAA has set the total annual catch limit at 42,510 fish. The recreational sector will be able to harvest 29,656 fish with a one red snapper per person per day bag limit which applies to private and charterboat/headboat vessels. The commercial annual catch limit will be the remaining 12,854 fish (or 124,815 pounds whole weight). The commercial trip limit will be 75 pounds gutted weight. NOAA fisheries determined that this limited harvest is not expected to impact the current rebuilding of the population or result in overfishing.

Various recent studies have shown that the snapper stock in the South Atlantic has increased in abundance with its highest total in 2017. Additionally, NOAA acknowledges that “the harvest prohibitions of red snapper since 2010 have resulted in adverse socioeconomic effects to fishermen and fishing communities such as loss of additional revenue and recreational opportunities… There is also a need for red snapper fishery dependent data. Federal and state personnel would collect information, including catch data and biological samples during the proposed open season in 2018, which would inform future population assessments for red snapper.”

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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