Red Snapper Rebound Could Increase Fishing Opportunities

The state recreational fishing season for Red Snapper will close in Mississippi territorial waters on Sunday, July 8, at 11:59 p.m. and reopen Monday, July 23, at 12:01 a.m. During the closure, no Red Snapper shall be harvested, landed, or possessed in the state of Mississippi under the current guidelines of the Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP). The season will reopen and last until Labor Day or may close sooner if the MS Department of Marine Resources determines that the quota has been reached. Mississippi anglers are reminded that they must register their red snapper trips with the free Tails N Scales App prior to fishing in order to be compliant with Mississippi’s snapper regulations.

The recent red snapper stock assessment presented to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) at its June meeting in Key West showed that the stock is neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing. As a result of the assessment, the Allowable Biological Catch (ABC) was raised for the years 2019-2021 and the Gulf Council initiated steps to increase the allowable catch level.

This is good news for Mississippi anglers and recreational fishermen around the gulf as the increased catch level could allow for longer seasons and/or increased bag limits. – Johnny Marquez, MWF Director of Coastal Programs

The Gulf Council is also considering amendments to establish state management programs for recreational harvest of red snapper. States are currently managing red snapper harvest under a special exempted fishing permit for two years. The permit allows the states to manage to a quota, set their own seasons and establish a mechanism to track harvest. The amendments under consideration could make state management of snapper permanent.

For anglers fishing neighboring states’ EFP seasons for Red Snapper, they must launch and land their vessel in that state while complying with all regulations pertaining to that state’s EFP season. The federal charter for-hire Red Snapper season will continue as scheduled and remain open until July 21, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. For updates on calls-to-action, subscribe to our Camo Coalition.