Federal Red Snapper Season Reopens in Gulf

New agreement between states and federal government adds 39 days

red snapper in Gulf of Mexico
Recreational anglers will have more days to fish for red snapper in Gulf waters thanks to an agreement reached to extend the federal season. John Frazier

Red snapper season will reopen for private recreational anglers in Gulf of Mexico federal waters out to 200 miles beginning Friday, June 16, following a revision of the 2017 season by the Department of Commerce and five Gulf Sates.

Fishing will be allowed every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including Monday and Tuesday of the July Fourth holiday and the Monday of Labor Day. This 39-day season will run concurrently in state and federal waters.

The original season was three days, June 1-3, and received heavy criticism from the recreational fishing community and advocacy groups such as Keep Florida Fishing and American Sportfishing Association.


The American Sportfishing Association’s conservation director, Mike Leonard, called the change “a welcome relief for the thousands of tackle shops, marinas, equipment manufacturers and other business who have suffered from decreasing public access to Gulf red snapper in recent years.”

These changes only apply to recreational anglers, not commercial or charter fishing. The original federal season in the Gulf was the shortest ever. Florida’s season originally was 78 days.

The Department of Commerce’s announcement on its website added that the agreement between the federal government and the Gulf states will help build “a new Federal-State partnership in managing the Gulf of Mexico red snapper stock.”


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