Back in March, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said recreational anglers in South Atlantic states could have a three-day red snapper season in 2020.
On Friday, NOAA Fisheries announced that recreational fishing for red snapper would be open for four days next month, starting on the weekend of Friday, July 10, through Sunday, July 12. It would open again for one more day on Friday, July 17.
Recreational fishing advocates count that as a victory since earlier this year, it was possible that recreational snapper fishing would not open to recreational anglers in the region at all in 2020.
“[The] announcement of a four-day South Atlantic red snapper season should be seen as a step forward not a step back,” said Center for Sportfishing Policy president Jeff Angers in a statement. “Earlier this year, it was possible that anglers would have no red snapper season at all on the South Atlantic coast, but because the recreational fishing community worked with willing Council members and partners in the Administration, we have an announcement of some access to this iconic fishery.”
For the commercial sector, the harvesting of red snapper officially opens on July 13 and will remain open for the end of the year, or until the commercial catch limit is met.
As for the numbers, recreational anglers will be allowed one red snapper per person, per day. The annual catch limit is estimated at 29,656 fish, with no minimum or maximum size limitations for both recreational and commercial fisherman.
NOAA says that this year’s season is shorter — in 2019, the fishery was open for five days — because recreational harvests last year exceeded the annual catch limit. The season length is chiefly based on the previous year’s catch rates, according to NOAA.
The announcement was good news for both anglers and the public policymakers at CSP.
“We feel things are moving in the right direction in the South Atlantic,” said Angers. “We have many tools at our disposal to continue improving access for anglers including a model of success with state management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.”
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