|Statement TPWD Regarding 3-Day Recreational Gulf Red Snapper Season
AUSTIN, June 1, 2017 – In response to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to establish a 3-day recreational season for red snapper in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which opened today and runs through Saturday, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith issued the following statement:
“Today’s opening of red snapper season in federal waters of the Gulf Coast marks one of the most disappointing seasons experienced by recreational anglers in decades. The National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to establish a 3-day recreational season for red snapper is terrible news for thousands of passionate recreational fishermen who have demonstrated steadfast support, with both their actions and their money, for fisheries management and conservation over the years. If anglers are outraged by this decision, they should be! It remains impossible to fathom, much less explain, how we could continue to have record high stock assessments of red snapper, yet couple that with record low opportunities for anglers to fish Gulf waters. The time has come for a substantive change within the current management structure of the Gulf Council to allow the gulf coast states the ability to manage the fisheries along their coastlines in a manner that is not only based on relevant science, but one that is also in the best interests of the anglers and the resource they enjoy and value so much.”
For several years, red snapper recreational regulations in Texas state waters out to nine nautical miles (set by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission) have differed from federal regulations. Within Texas waters, anglers may fish for red snapper year-round under a 4 fish daily bag limit and a 15-inch minimum length limit. Texas strongly believes the regulations for state waters are completely appropriate based on the most current stock assessment, recreational harvest data and that the authority to manage Texas state waters is solely under the jurisdiction of the Commission.