Hot Topic: Red Snapper

At one time depleted, the Gulf red snapper population has been recovering quickly. However, as the population has grown, recreational fishing seasons in federal waters have gotten shorter. This is due to a number of reasons including increased catch rates, increased recreational fishing effort, extended state fishing seasons, larger fish, and insufficient monitoring of recreational landings.

Fishery managers are now attempting to find new solutions for responsibly managing the recreational red snapper fishery and increasing opportunities for recreational fishermen to harvest red snapper. LDWF has implemented and proposed a number of solutions (click each one for details):

Advocating for state management of the recreational red snapper fishery in both state and federal waters

Improving recreational landings data collection through our LA Creel program

Restructuring the recreational red snapper season in state waters

Increasing scientific sampling of red snapper

Securing additional artificial reefs in red snapper habitat

Securing an exempted fishing permit from NOAA Fisheries

Furthering education and awareness about red snapper issues among Louisiana’s fishermen.

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Current Season and Regulations

The 2018 recreational red snapper season in state waters is delayed while NOAA Fisheries reviews LDWF's exempted fishing permit request to test state management of the recreational red snapper fishery. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will likely determine and announce the 2018 recreational red snapper season dates at its monthly meeting in May. Read more

See our Recreational Saltwater Seasons and Limits page for the latest.

Recreational Landings Update

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These landings data are preliminary and subject to change. The historic rate projection is based on average weekly landings from federal waters from 2014 to 2016. The current rate projection is based on the weekly rates observed during the current (2017) 39-day federal red snapper season. These projections are intended to provide general guidance as to what might occur in the future based on what occurred in the past. Weather conditions and other factors could impact weekly landings rates and change when landings reach Louisiana’s self-imposed limit.

The table below contains preliminary recreational landing data by sub-sector and is also subject to change.

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Biology Basics



Size and Growth

Habitat and Migrations

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do red snapper stock assessments include data collected on red snapper populations at oil and gas platforms and artificial reefs located off Louisiana?

2. As the red snapper population in the Gulf is growing, why are the private recreational red snapper seasons in federal waters getting shorter?

3. Who manages the recreational red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico?

4. How is the total catch of Gulf red snapper allocated between the recreational and commercial fishing sectors?

5. Who are the Council members?

6. What is the current status of the Gulf red snapper population?

7. What is the difference between overfishing and overfished?

8. How does LDWF know how much red snapper Louisiana’s recreational fishermen catch?

Related Links

Red Snapper Biology Brochure

Red Snapper Management Fact Sheet

NOAA Fisheries Red Snapper Management Feature