LWF Commission Sets 2018 Recreational Red Snapper Season

Release Date: 05/03/2018

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced the 2018 recreational red snapper season will begin on Friday, May 25 in both state and federal waters. The season will run 7 days a week with a daily bag limit of two fish per person and a 16-inch total length minimum size limit.   The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission may consider amending the season at a future meeting to weekends-only if necessary. The season will remain open until recreational landings approach or reach Louisiana’s annual private recreational allocation of 743,000 pounds of red snapper according to estimates from LA Creel.

This year’s season differs from years prior in that state and federal seasons will run concurrently because federal fisheries managers approved the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ application for an Exempted Fishing Permit to manage the private recreational snapper season in state and federal waters in 2018 and 2019. Under the EFP, participating anglers will be allowed to fish red snapper in the state territorial seas and adjoining federal EEZ, from shore to 200 nautical miles, during the season set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. NOAA Fisheries will continue to regulate federal for-hire charter vessels.

The intent of the state’s EFP is to test a state-based management approach that allows the recreational harvest of red snapper in federal waters off Louisiana’s coast.

“This is a significant beginning for Louisiana. We now have the charge to manage both the state and federal red snapper seasons,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “It is our job to make sure that this is a success, and we will be calling on our anglers to assist.”

“Since I came on as Secretary, Gov. John Bel Edwards has said Louisiana has done everything necessary to manage the state and federal waters off our coast,” Montoucet said. “I know that he and other Louisiana state and federal officials who have promoted this idea are happy to see this day.”

Gov. Edwards praised the state’s new position. “Being an avid fisherman myself, I know how important it is that Louisiana now controls red snapper seasons here,” he said. “Like so many Louisiana anglers, I applaud the effort of LDWF, its biologists and staff, along with our Congressional delegation, to make this happen.

Resident and Non-Resident Recreational Anglers:

·      Must possess valid Louisiana Basic and Saltwater Recreational Fishing Licenses as well as a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (free of charge) to participate.

·      Anglers can sign up via the ROLP website or smartphone application (Google Play or iTunes) to participate. Log into your ROLP account and click the link to register to fish for red snapper under the EFP. Once you have registered, save an electronic copy on your mobile device or print a copy of your ROLP indicating your EFP registration and carry it on your person along with applicable licenses while fishing under the EFP.

 State For-Hire Charter Vessels:

·      State for-hire charter captains (those who do not have a federal Gulf of Mexico charter/headboat permit for reef fish) are not covered by the terms of this EFP.

·      May only fish for red snapper in state waters (within the 9 nautical mile state water boundary), when the Louisiana recreational red snapper season is open.

 Federal For-Hire Charter Vessels:

·      Despite the department’s initial EFP application, vessels with federal reef fish for-hire permits will remain under federal regulations and may not fish under this EFP.

·      May only fish in federal waters during the 51-day federal for-hire season from June 1 through July 21, 2018.

·      If a federal for-hire charter captain also holds a Louisiana charter license, he/she may also fish state waters only when the federal for-hire charter season overlaps with the Louisiana season.

All EFP participants will be subject to periodic, random LA Creel dockside surveys and associated online and phone effort surveys, as has been the case since 2014 when LA Creel began. While these surveys are voluntary, we strongly urge your participation, as this will be the primary method for tracking harvest. The accuracy and reliability of harvest estimates depend on angler participation in LA Creel, so we need as many anglers as possible to complete both dockside and phone and email surveys.

Those who opt to fish under the EFP also have the option to test electronic reporting via the ROLP smartphone application or mobile and desktop version of the ROLP website. LDWF hopes that voluntary use of electronic reporting will provide the department with a larger sample size than standard dockside and telephone sampling, improving the quality of recreational landings data to make future management recommendations. Electronic reporting could also provide landings data even faster than LA Creel. If you opt in to voluntary electronic reporting, you may also be contacted to participate in LA Creel.

For additional questions regarding the upcoming red snapper season, the Exempted Federal Fishing Permit, or voluntary electronic reporting, please reference our FAQs.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.