Gulf Council sets federal red snapper season at 11 days

After receiving a briefing on a recent court decision in response to a legal challenge on management of the recreational component of the red snapper fishery, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council took actions to prevent the recreational sector from exceeding its quota in 2014 and  beyond.

For the short-term, the Council asked the National Marine Fisheries Service to implement an emergency rule that establishes a 20% buffer on the 5.39 million pound recreational quota — a buffer with only a 15% probability that the quota will be exceeded. The 20% buffer, which provides a low probability that the quota will be exceeded, results in a recreational annual catch target (ACT) of 4.312 million pounds, and an 11-day red snapper recreational season for 2014.

The bag limit will remain 2-fish per person.

The 11-day federal season takes into consideration the incompatible state seasons and bag limits adopted by Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. The Council also voted to withdraw a framework action submitted in February that would rescind the Amendment 30B permit provision, which requires vessels with federal charter vessel/headboat permits to abide by federal regulations if more restrictive when fishing in state waters. To address the issue long-term, the Council has asked staff to include accountability measure alternatives for the recreational allocation, such as buffers and overage
adjustments, in the Allocation Amendment (Reef Fish Amendment 28).