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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

Sept. 6, 2012

Red Snapper fishery to open briefly in September

Red snapper fishermen, both recreational and commercial, will get a brief open season in September, according to NOAA Fisheries.

The recreational season for red snapper will include two weekends, Sept. 14-16, and Sept. 21-23. Anglers will be allowed one fish per day with no minimum size limit.

Only non-stainless circle hooks can be used, and fishermen must possess a de-hooking device.

The recreational seasons for red snapper will open at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 14 and close at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 17, then again from 12:01 a.m. Sept. 21 to 12:01 a.m. Sept. 24.

The commercial red snapper season will open at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 17 and close at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 24. During the commercial season the daily trip limit is 50 pounds of gutted fish with no minimum size limit.

"It is a positive sign that the red snapper population can sustain some level of harvest, though limited" said Mel Bell, Director of DNR's office of Fisheries Management. "But the fact remains that this long-lived, slow-growing species will need time to recover from recent historic lows off our southeastern coastal states."

The intent of the open seasons is to provide fisherman the opportunity to harvest the red snapper 2012 annual catch limit, and to enhance the social and economic benefits of the fishery, according to NOAA.

The recreational annual catch limit for red snapper in the South Atlantic area is 9,399 fish, which is approximately seventy-two percent of the total annual catch limit. The commercial catch limit for red snapper in this area is 20,818 pounds of gutted fish. The limits apply to both state and federal waters.

If severe weather develops during the open seasons, NOAA may change the season dates. Additionally, NOAA may re-open the 2012 commercial fishing season for red snapper if landings are below the annual catch limit.

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