RECREATIONAL FISHING FOR RED SNAPPER IN LA WATERS TO CLOSE ON OCT. 31, 2005

Release Date: 10/18/2005

The recreational fishery for red snapper in Louisiana waters will close at midnight on Oct. 31, 2005.  This closure was previously announced, but this notice is intended as a reminder to recreational harvesters of the seasonal closure.


The red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico is cooperatively managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) with advice from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council).  Regulations promulgated by NMFS are applicable in waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the U.S., which in Louisiana is generally three miles offshore.


NMFS has put into place a regulatory amendment under the framework procedure of the reef fish fishery management plan.  The amendment establishes a recreational red snapper quota equal to the recreational allocation and authorizes the closure of the fishery for the remainder of the calendar year in Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico when the quota is reached or is projected to be reached. 


The Gulf Council recommended to NMFS that the 2005 recreational quota for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico be set at 4.47 million pounds.  NMFS responded by closing the recreational fishing season for red snapper effective midnight Oct. 31, 2005 until April 21, 2006 by reducing the bag limit to zero in the EEZ off of Louisiana for that time period.  The seasonal framework established by NMFS and the Council is intended to maintain recreational harvest within the allowable catch limits established for the species. 


The LWFC has enacted a closure in Louisiana state waters consistent with the EEZ closure which is preferable as it assists in enforcement of fishery rules.


Effective with the recreational red snapper season closure, no person, except those who possess a Class 1 or Class 2 commercial red snapper license issued by NMFS under the Federal Fishery Management Plan for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish and who are legally taking red snapper during an open commercial season, shall possess any red snapper whether taken from within or without Louisiana territorial waters.


EDITORS: For more information contact Harry Blanchet at 225-765-2366 hblanchet@wlf.louisiana.gov.