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NOAA extends Gulf of Mexico red snapper season

NOAA Fisheries extended the nine-day red snapper season for private anglers in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico by two days.

NOAA Fisheries extended the nine-day red snapper season for private anglers in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico by two days to make up for fishing opportunities lost because of Tropical Storm Colin.

The season had been scheduled to end at 12:01 a.m. Friday. NOAA’s decision adds two days to the season, which now will end at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, the Naples Herald reported today.

NOAA said the extension was in response to requests from anglers.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had asked the Commerce Department on Wednesday to extend the recreational red snapper season in federal waters of the Gulf by three weekend days before July 1.

“While we are pleased that Tropical Storm Colin moved quickly across our state, the weather conditions created by the storm prevented anglers from participating in a significant portion of the nine-day federal red snapper season,” Scott said in a statement.

“Saltwater fishing in the Gulf of Mexico has a $7.6 billion economic impact in Florida every year, and June is one of the most important months for tourism and recreation in our state. I urge the U.S. Department of Commerce to extend the recreational season to ensure our families and visitors have the opportunity to fish for red snapper and Florida’s Gulf coast communities can make up for economic losses caused by this storm.”

Keep Florida Fishing, an advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association, applauded the governor’s effort.

“Thank you to Gov. Rick Scott for recognizing that Florida’s resident and visiting anglers are an important part of our state’s economy,” Kellie Ralston, Florida fishing policy director of Keep Florida Fishing, said in a statement.

“While the nine-day recreational red snapper season has been drastically limited at the federal level, Tropical Storm Colin limited the days anglers could fish in the Gulf of Mexico even further. On behalf of Keep Florida Fishing and the more than 3 million anglers in our state, we appreciate and fully support the governor’s request to extend the red snapper season by three weekend days.”

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