Recreational anglers will be allowed to catch red snapper in South Atlantic federal waters this weekend and the following weekend after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a limited season on Friday.
The season will run from Friday through Sunday this weekend and from Nov. 10-12. During those periods people can catch and keep one red snapper per day with no minimum size limit, according to TC Palm.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted 12-1 on Sept. 25 during its quarterly meeting in Charleston, S.C., to request a red snapper fishing mini-season from NOAA Fisheries, the news outlet reported.
NOAA also said the commercial fishing sector will be able to begin fishing for red snapper on Nov. 2. The sector will be able to fish until the end of the year or until the sector's catch limit is met. It will have a 75-pound gutted weight trip limit and no minimum size limit.
Recreational anglers probably will be able to fish for red snapper in Atlantic waters next summer, as well, likely in a format similar to this year.
Red snapper have been a central part of the debate in reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the law that governs saltwater fishing in federal waters.
Recreational industry stakeholders have been among those testifying at a series of four Senate subcommittee hearings — the final one was held last week.
The industry has been hopeful that the reauthorization will include language that helps delineate the recreational and commercial sectors.
At the same time, the recreational industry is supporting the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, or Modern Fish Act, which was introduced in both chambers of Congress earlier this year as S. 1520 and H.R. 2023.
The bipartisan bill is based on recommendations gleaned from the Morris-Deal Commission, and is being supported by the American Sportfishing Association, the Costal Conservation Association, the Center for Sportfishing Policy, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Yamaha Marine. All of the groups are making a push on social media to gain support for the bill.