JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No additional days for fishing for red snapper have been announced for the Atlantic, but if you are up for a weekend trip, 6 days are now open in the Gulf this Fall.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced a fall red snapper season for private recreational anglers and state for-hire operations in the Gulf of Mexico to open on the following Saturdays and Sundays: Oct. 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1.
During this season, private recreational anglers may harvest red snapper in Gulf state and federal waters. However, state for-hire operations are limited to fishing for red snapper in Gulf state waters only.
“I’m excited to announce this additional Gulf red snapper fishing opportunity,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “I hope Floridians and visitors can use this extra time to get out on the water and enjoy themselves.”
Congressman John Rutherford is asking for additional red snapper fishing days in the Atlantic also:
.@RepStephMurphy and I are fighting to change this. We asked @SecretaryRoss to consider an additional South Atlantic red snapper season this year should the data from the July season show anglers did not meet the 2020 catch limit. See the full letter here: https://t.co/T28YAurAY1 https://t.co/4ZZcZCideL— Rep. John Rutherford (@RepRutherfordFL) September 30, 2020
In Rutherford’s letter he emphasizes how a healthy fishery is vital to the state’s economy and thanks Secretary Ross for finalizing Amendment 29, which required the use of descending devices and venting tools on vessels that are snapper fishing. He explains that the number of red snapper fishing days has decreased for the Atlantic region from 9 days to 5 since 2017. Despite the shrinking season, Rutherford says the 6 day red snapper season of 2018 added over thirteen million dollars to the economy
Communications Director for Congressman Rutherford Alex Lanfranconi also says ,“Rep. Rutherford has secured $1.5 million for independent, third party data collection on red snapper in the South Atlantic, which will hopefully lead to longer seasons.”
The significantly longer red snapper fishing season in the Gulf is largely credited to participation in the State Reef Survey by anglers who fish for snapper.
“The years of collaborative work with stakeholders and partners has resulted in a significant increase in the number of fishing opportunities over the past few years, from just a few days to 51 red snapper fishing days in Gulf state and federal waters this year,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton.
These additional days would not be possible without the State Reef Fish Survey (SRFS). The State Reef Fish Survey was developed specifically to provide more robust data for management of red snapper and other important reef fish, and has allowed FWC the unprecedented opportunity to manage Gulf red snapper in state and federal waters.
Planning to participate in the fall season? The FWC asks that you do your part to continue the success of the State Reef Fish Survey. All anglers fishing from private recreational vessels must sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler to target red snapper and several other reef fish in state and federal waters, even if they are exempt from fishing license requirements. Sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler at no cost at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or by visiting any location where you can purchase a license.
State Reef Fish Anglers may receive a questionnaire in the mail regarding their reef fish trips as part of Florida’s State Reef Fish Survey. If you receive a survey, please respond whether you fished this season or not or whether you’ve submitted data via other methods.
To learn more about the recreational red snapper season in Gulf state and federal waters, including season size and bag limits, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and select “Snappers.”
The federal season for for-hire operations with federal reef fish permits was June 1 through Aug. 1.