Recreational anglers on our coast will have only three days this summer to catch red snapper for dinner.
NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency that regulates recreational and commercial fishing in U.S. waters, just announced that the 2021 recreational red snapper season will be July 9, 10, and 11 in South Atlantic federal waters which extend more than three miles from shore. Anglers will be able to harvest one red snapper per person per day of any size on private vessels, charterboats and head boats.
For commercial fishers, the season will open July 12 and close Jan. 1, 2022 unless the commercial annual catch limit of 12,854 fish is fulfilled sooner than that. There is also a 75-pound trip limit for the commercial sector.
Last year, the federal agency gave South Atlantic recreational anglers a four-day season; commercial fishers caught their limit in about 1 1/2 months.
NOAA Fisheries officials said in a news release that the recreational harvest was shortened this year because anglers landed more than their allotted catch last year.
“Since NOAA Fisheries estimates the season length based upon catch rates from the previous years, this year is shorter by one day to reduce the likelihood that the recreational landings would exceed the recreational catch limit in 2021,” the release states.
Gulf of Mexico red snapper, which are managed as a separate stock of fish from the South Atlantic, have a much longer recreational season this year. The fishery opened today [June 4] and will close July 28, with a possible re-opening in the fall if quota is available.