PANAMA CITY BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) – Come fall, when casting a line in state and federal waters, fisherman that hook red snapper can keep their catch.
The 14-day supplemental red snapper season, which begins October 1st and runs through midnight on October 15th, was announced Friday by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The federal season will be one week shorter than the 21-day state season, which was approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last week. In Florida, federal waters begin nine nautical miles offshore, the News Herald reports.
The season was shortened after catch estimates for June came in higher than expected, said Roy Crabtree, the agency’s Southeast Regional administrator.
“Those catch estimates indicate that there was a substantially higher portion of trips that occurred in offshore waters than we’ve seen in past years,” he said.
Stock is still healthy, he said, and catch limits for snapper are the highest they have been since quotas were set in 1991.
There was also an increase in the allowable catch for Gulf red snapper, from 8.46 million pounds to eleven million pounds. The recreational quota increased from 4.145 to 5.39 million pounds.
Still, the agency is not sure just what the turnout come October will be.
“It’s very difficult for us to know how many people will go fishing for red snapper in October,” Crabtree said. “We’ve heard from fishermen and they don’t want us to put next year’s season at risk. It’s all a balancing act.”
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