Louisiana anglers will be able to catch more red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico this year thanks to new guidelines published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), according to Rep. Garret Graves.
Graves said a recent assessment of Gulf red snapper by NOAA Fisheries determined the species is not being overfished.
The new rule increases the commercial and recreational annual catch limits and the recreational annual catch target for 2019.
The new rule also keeps an existing plan to rebuild the stock of red snapper in place.
The final rule will be effective on April 4, 2019.
SUMMARY OF CHANGES:
- The final rule implements two actions submitted by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council): the Red Snapper and West Florida Hogfish Annual Catch Limit Framework and the Recreational Red Snapper Annual Catch Target Buffer Framework.
- The final rule increases the commercial and recreational red snapper catch levels and targets by more than 1 million pounds. See the table below.
- The final rule reduces the buffer between the catch limit and catch target for red snapper for the federal for-hire component from 20% to 9% in 2019 only. This would temporarily increase the federal for-hire component catch target.
- The final rule decreases the combined commercial and recreational west Florida hogfish stock catch limit for 2019, and then allows it to increase in 2020 and 2021 from the 2019 level.
The 2018 and new red snapper annual catch limits and annual catch targets in millions of pounds, whole weight, are listed below. The federal for-hire annual catch target and total recreational annual catch target are greater in 2019 than in 2020 due to a temporary reduction in the buffer between the federal for-hire annual catch limit and annual catch target in 2019.
|Red Snapper Sector||2018 annual catch limit||2019+ annual catch limit||2018 annual catch target||2019 and 2020+ annual catch target|
|Total Recreational||6.733||7.399||5.386||6.263 (2019)
|Recreational Federal For-Hire||2.848||3.130||2.278||2.848 (2019)
NOAA will announce the 2019 federal for-hire component season soon.
The private angling component seasons will be set by the respective Gulf of Mexico states.
Recreational anglers in Louisiana can contact the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for more information about the private angling season for red snapper in 2019.