COMMISSION MODIFIES RULES FOR VERMILION SNAPPER AND COMMERCIAL RED SNAPPER

Release Date: 02/07/2008

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission issued a declaration of emergency and notice of intent to modify creel and size limits and to eliminate the commercial closed season for vermilion snapper, and to modify the commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) red snapper commercial landing and offloading requirements at their February 7 2008 meeting, as recommended by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.


Effective March 5, 2008, the commercial and recreational vermilion snapper minimum size limit will be reduced from 11 inches to 10 inches total length; the 10 fish recreational bag limit restriction for vermilion snapper within the existing 20-fish aggregate reef fish bag limit is eliminated; and the 40-day commercial closure for vermilion snapper, which extended from April 22 through May 31 each year, is eliminated.


Effective 6 a.m. Feb, 8, 2008, commercial red snapper IFQ fishermen can land their vessels anytime during the day and night, provided that a landing notification has been given three to 12 hours prior to landing; can only offload red snapper from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and do not need to give a law enforcement an offloading notification for red snapper.  For the purposes of these regulations, the term "landing" means tying a vessel to a dock.  "Offloading" means removing red snapper from a vessel. 


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.


Public comments on the notice of intent to modify the permanent rule will be accepted prior to Thursday, May 1, 2008.  Comments should be submitted to Harry Blanchet, Marine Fisheries Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000 or by e-mail to hblanchet@wlf.louisiana.gov, with "February Reef Fish Notice of Intent" in the subject line.


For more information, contact Harry Blanchet at 225-765-2889 or hblanchet@wlf.louisiana.gov.


2008-037