Final weekend of summer red snapper season
Sunday July 10 will be the final day for recreational anglers to harvest red snapper in Florida state waters until later this year. The summer snapper season will officially close at 12:01 a.m. on Monday July 11.
Recreational anglers off the Gulf Coast saw an extremely short federal red snapper season last month with only 11-days to fish in the beginning of June. The federal waters season was originally set at 9-days, but Tropical Storm Colin rolled through and after a request from Governor Rick Scott two additional days were added.
Florida state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles out and are managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Federal waters extend from where state waters end, out to about 200 nautical miles and are managed by NOAA Fisheries.
Federally permitted charter boats were given 46-days to fish, from June 1 through July 16. In years past charter boats and private recreational anglers fished under the same season regulations in federal waters, but with the approval of Amendment 40 Sector Separation a charter sector was created.
Red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico are first split between the commercial and the recreational sector with commercial getting 48.5 percent and recreational getting 51.5 percent. For more than two decades the split was 51 percent commercial and 49 percent recreational until 2016.
At 51.5 percent the total recreational harvest allowed was set at 7.192 million pounds for 2016 and 7.076 million pounds for 2017. That 51.5 percent is now split with 57.7 percent going to private anglers and 42.3 percent to federally permitted charter boats.
The good news is that recreational anglers will get another Florida state waters season later this year to account for a total of 78-days in 2016. The season will open for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in September and October giving anglers an opportunity to fish during some of the cooler more enjoyable months.
Federally permitted charter boats are not allowed to harvest red snapper in Florida state waters when the federal season is closed. The majority of inshore guides and some charters boats are not federally permitted and they are limited to fishing in state waters, but they also get to follow the Florida state waters recreational season.
In both state and federal waters, the current bag limit remains at two red snapper per person per day with a minimum size limit of 16 inches.