Thursday NOAA announced the 2019 Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Season for Vessels fishing in federal waters carrying recreational anglers for hire. The season will be 62 days long and begins June 1, 2019 and ends on August 2 at 12:01 a.m. local time.
The dates set are for the charter and party boats, also called deck boats.
The season for private recreational anglers, those not fishing on boats for hire will be set by each of the Gulf States’ state regulatory agencies. For Texas, that is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Once the dates are set for the private sector in Texas, we will pass them on.
Red snapper are one of the most sought after fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Both recreational and commercial fishermen target this popular table fare and up until recently the stocks were showing signs of significant decline due to over-harvesting.
Recreational anglers have a two fish per day bag limit for red snapper, with a minimum length of 16 inches in federal waters, which begin nine nautical miles from shore.
Over harvesting has been a problem for many of our fish, especially those that are subject to both recreational and commercial fishing.
When I started offshore fishing in Gulf waters back in the early 1970s, there were very few regulations regarding bag or size limits on offshore fish. There seemed to be a prevailing mentality that the ocean was vast and fishermen could hardly dent the populations of the fish stocks.
Within 10 years, anglers started experiencing a decline in both quantity and quality of catches.
During that time The Magnuson–Stevens Act was passed in 1976 which initially extended U.S. Territorial Waters from 12 to 200 miles. Since then, the act has been amended several times in an attempt to address the problems with our coastal fisheries.