Louisiana: Commission Sets Red Snapper Season and Moves Forward with Regulation Proposals

Contact: Clay Chester, Southeastern States Coordinator

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (Commission) recently held their virtual May meeting at which they established parameters for the upcoming red snapper season and discussed proposed regulatory changes.

Recreational Red Snapper Season

Louisiana (LA) and other states bordering the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) were granted limited state management authority of private recreational angling for red snapper in state and federal waters by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On February 5, NOAA’s Final Rule specified that each state must set a fishing season, a bag limit and a minimum size limit. After many years of advocating for state management of red snapper in the Gulf, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) celebrates this victory for the recreational fishing community.

Louisiana’s recreational red snapper season will begin on May 22 for weekends only, plus two Mondays (Memorial and Labor Day). It will remain open until the state’s annual private recreational allocation of 784,332 pounds has been met. Louisiana is allocated 19.12 percent of the private angling quota for the Gulf but due to overages in last year’s red snapper season, the state’s quota was reduced by almost 32,000 pounds this year. The Commission also announced the daily bag limit of two fish per person and a total length minimum size limit of 16 inches.

The announcement highlighted that the periodic LA Creel dockside surveys, voluntary online and phone surveys, and the electronic reporting through the Recreational Offshore Landing Permit app are necessary for accurate and reliable harvest estimates. Future state management recommendations rely on the data collected through these methods.

Residents and non-residents interested in recreational fishing for red snapper must carry their Louisiana Basic and Saltwater Recreational Fishing Licenses in addition to a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit.

CSF and partners remain engaged with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to continue addressing goals in the red snapper fishery.

Proposed Regulations

Earlier this month, the Commission approved the Notice of Intent in which they outlined proposed regulations for Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) beginning with the 2020-2021 season. Additionally, the Commission proposed changes to the resident game hunting and migratory bird seasons and bag limits for the 2020-2022 seasons.

Some of the proposed regulation changes include:

  • Allowing the use of natural deer urine products, when deer hunting, that are produced by manufacturers enrolled in the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Deer Protection Program. Currently, all deer urine products are prohibited for use when deer hunting in an effort to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) introduction into the state. At this time, CWD-transmission through urine has not been proven, though research indicates that it may be possible. The ATA Deer Protection Program seeks to provide consumer and regulator confidence in the urine products enrolled in the Program by ensuring that all participating producers meet or exceed state and federal CWD requirements;
  • Requiring non-toxic shot to be used for all shotguns on WMA shooting ranges;
  • Requiring self-clearing permits, either obtained through the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries WMA Self-Clearing Permit app or a WMA self-clearing permit from an information station, for all activities on WMAs;
  • Allowing electric bicycles, which would be restricted to designated roads and ATV/UTV trails, to aid in retrieval of harvested deer and hogs on WMA lands;
  • Closing the 2020-2021 turkey season on Grassy Lake WMA due to excessive flooding;
  • Closing all hunting (except waterfowl) south of Highway 90 when the river gauge reaches 16.5 feet on the Pearl River WMA;
  • Changing the daily bag limit on scaup ducks to allow one to be taken in the first 15 days of the season and two per day thereafter;
  • Increasing the white-fronted geese daily bag limit from two to three and the possession limit from six to nine.

The Commission will hold their next meeting on June 4. Persons interested in participating in the webinar can find additional information here

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