States to Manage Recreational Red Snapper Season in 2018 & 2019
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved the use of Exempted Fishing Permits (EFP) submitted by the 5 Gulf States to allow each state to manage its recreational red snapper harvest for 2018 and 2019. The EFPs became necessary after a ruling from the Department of Commerce extended the 3 day recreational red snapper season in Federal Waters to 39 days, resulting in a harvest that greatly exceeded the recreational quota. The excess harvest would have triggered payback provisions requiring that the quota for 2018 be reduced by the amount of the over harvest which would have eliminated a recreational red snapper season in Federal waters.
The EFPs, which cover the 2018 and 2019 fishing years, will allow recreationally caught red snapper to be landed within certain time periods determined by the respective states.
Red snapper landings would be monitored by the states, and the respective state seasons would close when a state’s quota is caught or projected to be caught. These studies are intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of state management of recreationally caught red snapper.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will now be required to publish each plan and allow for a 30-day comment period. NOAA must then ratify each plan before implementation begins. The process is expected to take approximately 90 days