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New round of hearings on Gulf snapper management amendment

Red snapper are a popular game fish for anglers in the Southeast. photo courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

Red snapper are a popular game fish for anglers in the Southeast. photo courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will hold a hearing tonight, one of a series it is conducting throughout gulf states to consider giving them more flexibility setting recreational red snapper seasons.

This is the second year of a pilot program that gives states more oversight of recreationally-caught red snapper in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Last year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Gov. Rick Scott announced a 40-day recreational red snapper season for gulf state and federal waters, versus the 24-day season that was originally proposed for the region.

Tonight’s hearing on Draft Amendment 50 – State Management of Recreational Red Snapper, will take place at the Hilton in St. Petersburg, Fla., at 6:30 p.m., before moving to Texas. A full list of meetings can be found here.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is encouraging members to attend and support the measure allowing states more flexibility in recreational snapper management.

“The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery has been plagued by controversy for years, but this year has been different,” said the NMMA in its newsletter, Currents. “Through a pilot program, each Gulf state has been able to manage the 2018 red snapper season for private anglers, resulting in reasonable seasons and improved data collection across the board. And fortunately, there’s an opportunity on the horizon to provide a long-term solution to this issue – which will allow states to continue managing this fishery and avoid returning to the shortened seasons under federal management.”

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