A declaration of emergency setting the 2007 recreational fishing season dates and creel limits for red snapper, and setting the 2007 commercial minimum size limit for red snapper, was issued by Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at the April 5 meeting, as recommended by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The recreational fishing season for red snapper in Louisiana state waters will open at 12:01 a.m. on April 21, 2007. The season opening will coincide with season opening date in federal waters. The daily bag limit and possession limit will be four fish per person through May 1, 2007.
On May 2, 2007, the daily bag and possession limit will be reduced to two fish per person. Also effective May 2, 2007, no red snapper may be retained by the captain or crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. Effective May 2, 2007, their bag limit is reduced to zero.
Effective immediately, the minimum size for red snapper harvested commercially is reduced to 13 inches total length.
All applicable rules regarding red snapper harvest including size, daily take and possession limits established by the Commission shall be in effect during the recreational season.
The Wildlife and Fisheries Commission authorized the Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to close the recreational red snapper season when he is informed by the Regional Administrator of NMFS that the recreational red snapper season is closed or projected to be closed in adjacent Federal waters.
The Commission also authorized the Secretary to modify the opening and closing dates in State waters if he is notified that the opening and closing of Federal waters are other than those specified by this Commission action, and to open an additional recreational red snapper season in Louisiana state waters if he is informed that NMFS has opened an additional recreational season, and to close such season when he is informed that the recreational red snapper season is closed or projected to be closed in adjacent Federal waters.
Effective with any recreational take or possession limit under this emergency rule, no person shall recreationally harvest or possess red snapper whether taken from within or without Louisiana territorial waters in excess of such established trip or possession limit.
Effective with any recreational red snapper season closure, no person except those who possess a commercial reef fish permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Federal Fishery Management Plan for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish, and who are legally taking red snapper under federal rules regarding Individual Fishing Quotas for red snapper, shall possess any red snapper whether taken from within or without Louisiana territorial waters.
The commission's actions ensure that regulations in state waters will complement regulations of the National Marine Fisheries Service for federally managed waters. NMFS and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council typically request consistent regulations for Louisiana waters to enhance effectiveness and enforceability of regulations.
Following is a summary of federal and Louisiana actions and effective dates:
Commercial red snapper minimum size limit reduced to 13 inches; action is effective April 2 in federal waters and April 5 in Louisiana waters.
Recreational season opens April 21 in federal and state waters; recreational size limit will remain at 16 inches total length.
Recreational red snapper bag limit April 21 through May 1, 2007 is four fish per person per day including captain and crew of for-hire vessels.
Recreational red snapper bag limit effective May 2, 2007 and thereafter is two fish per person per day and zero fish per person per day for captain and crew of for-hire vessels.
For more information, contact Harry Blanchet at 225/765-2889