The following information is from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:
It is anticipated that the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will determine and announce the recreational red snapper season dates at its monthly meeting in May.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet postponed the state-waters season that had been scheduled to open in late March.
By law, the recreational red snapper season in state waters is set to open on March 24, 2018. However, LDWF requested the Commission delay considering this topic until the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approves an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application submitted by the agency. The EFP application requests that NOAA allow Louisiana an opportunity to test state management of recreational red snapper.
The EFP, if approved, would allow the state to manage the recreational red snapper fishery in both state and federal waters for 2018 and 2019, and allow the Commission to determine when the season should open and how many fish can be harvested per day by each angler.
Unlike previous years, the state season will likely be concurrent with the federal red snapper season, eliminating confusion for anglers.
LDWF's EFP application recommends that Louisiana's red snapper season open the Friday before Memorial Day, May 25, in both state and federal waters. However, the Commission will determine the final season opening date and daily creel limit per angler.
LDWF requested that the state receive its historical share of the overall Gulf of Mexico annual recreational harvest for the duration of this pilot project. Based upon such historical catch data and the 2017 annual catch limit (ACL), Louisiana's share is equal to approximately 1.1 million pounds of snapper. NOAA can opt to approve or reject that number, however, during its review and evaluation process. Harvest toward that quota would be monitored via La Creel and other optional recreational reporting methods such as a smart-phone app and an online reporting portal.
Once the EFP is approved, LDWF will provide recommended season dates to the Commission based on the quota determined by NOAA.
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