Thursday, June 15, 2017

Department of Commerce Announces Changes to the 2017 Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Private Angler Recreational Season


WASHINGTON – For the first time in a decade, Federal authorities and the five Gulf States have agreed to align Federal and State private angler red snapper fishing seasons for the remainder of the summer, and the Department of Commerce has re-opened the 2017 private angler recreational season for 39 weekend days and holidays.  Majority Whip Scalise and other Members of Congress were instrumental in reaching this agreement.

“I’d like to offer my thoughts and prayers to Whip Scalise, his staff, the Capitol Police, and their families,” said Secretary Ross.  “Majority Whip Scalise and his staff have been incredibly helpful on this and a host of other issues, and I wish them and the other victims a speedy recovery.  Such a despicable act of violence has no place in our political discourse, and the Administration and Congress will continue to work together in service to the American people.”

The agreement reached between the Secretary of Commerce and the five Gulf States is a significant step forward in building a new Federal-State partnership in managing the Gulf of Mexico red snapper stock. This represents a commitment from the states to restore a shared vision of uniform management that will benefit the long term recovery of the red snapper stock while maximizing the economic benefits from recreational fishing in the Gulf region.

The new rule announced today will re-open the 2017 Federal recreational season for red snapper by the private angling component on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from June 16, 2017, through Labor Day, September 4, 2017. During this time, the season will be closed Monday through Thursday with the exception of July 3, July 4, and September 4. Correspondingly, the five Gulf States will bring their state red snapper water seasons into alignment with the Federal water season for the rest of the summer.

The Departments rule does not change the quota or season length for the federally permitted for-hire component of the recreational fishery or the commercial individual fishing quota program and the 2017 commercial quota.