Bonus Red Snapper Season for Louisiana

Thanks to lower landings than expected, Louisiana anglers will have additional opportunity to catch red snapper in October.

Big red snapper caught in the Gulf of Mexico
Some of the largest red snapper are caught in the Gulf of Mexico. John Frazier

There’s good news for anglers in the Bayou State. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recently approved an additional eight days that will be added to the recreational red snapper season, with increased bag limits. The new season starts on October 7, 2022.

The season will re-open following an emergency declaration signed by LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet on October 3. The bonus season will run from 12:01 a.m. Friday, October 7 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, October 14. In addition to the added days, the bag limits increase to 4 fish per person, up from three. And unlike the regular season, recreational anglers will be able to fish for red snapper every day; not just weekends and holidays.

To give their biologists time to crunch the numbers, LDWF closed the red snapper season on September 19. After analyzing landings data from creel surveys, LDWF staff determined that 39,216 pounds of the 809,315-pound quota remained available for harvest by Louisiana anglers. Biologists attribute the remaining quota to low angler effort and landings.

Red Snapper Management

Red snapper management has always been a contentious issue. Quotas for each state are set by fisheries managers at the federal level. Years ago, the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council approved an amendment, Amendment 50A-State Management Program for Recreational Red Snapper, that gave states the authority to manage their own red snapper quotas.

States must shut down the red snapper fishery when these quotas are met, or before. If they go over, that amount will be deducted from their allocation the next year. But occasionally, managers overestimate angler effort when setting seasons. This can lead to short, bonus seasons later on, giving anglers an opportunity to finish out that state’s quota.

Hopefully folks will make the most of it.

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