Federal snapper season announced; 3 days for private anglers in 2017
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has set the dates for the 2017 red snapper season for federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and it's going to be a short one, just three days for non-commercial anglers.
NOAA announced Tuesday the red snapper season for private anglers will run from June 1, 2017, 12:01 am local time to June 4, 2017 at 12:01 am local time. So as a private boater, unless you go fishing for red snapper the first weekend of June, you're out of luck if you want to do so in federal waters, which start 9 nautical miles offshore.
For federally permitted for-hire vessels, the 2017 red snapper season for federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico will run from June 1, 2017 at 12:01 am local time to July 20, 2017, at 12:01 am local time.
According to NOAA, here's how the season lengths were determined:
--The red snapper total recreational quota is allocated 57.7% to the private angling component and 42.3% to the for-hire component.
--In 2016, the total recreational quota was exceeded by 129,906 pounds. The private angling quota was also exceeded.
--The overage of the total recreational quota must be paid back by the private angling component because that component exceeded its quota.
After adjustment for the 2016 overage, the 2017 annual catch target for the private angling component is 3,004,075 pounds whole weight. The 2017 annual catch target for the for-hire component is 2,278,000 pounds whole weight.
--Catches in both state and federal waters are counted against the quota. The number of days for each component to harvest its annual catch target was calculated using 2016 catch rates and accounting for the expected red snapper harvest during state seasons outside the federal season. Private anglers are expected to harvest nearly 81% of the private angling quota during state seasons that range from 67 to 365 days.
--Based on the 2017 catch targets and after accounting for landings during state seasons, the private angling season in federal waters can be 3 days and the for-hire season can be 49 days.
--For information on red snapper recreational management in the Gulf of Mexico including how the season lengths were projected, go to: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/red_snapper/index.html.
Tuesday's announcement came less than 2 weeks after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced its red snapper dates for 2017. The red snapper season for state waters (less than 9 nautical miles from shore) are:
--Saturdays and Sundays in May starting the first Saturday in May.
--Open daily starting the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 27) through Sunday following Independence Day (July 9).
--Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, plus Labor Day (Sept. 4).