Louisiana Red Snapper season: Feds and State still at it
The Louisiana State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries bucked federal fish managers by opening a year long season. For those of you who don’t know, Red Snapper season is a contentious, and as of this moment, a convoluted bureaucratic mess.The good news is: the La. Charter Boat Association has been working hard to protect your fishing rights. The lawsuit and judges orders in Alabama have severely affected our summertime season. There will be a meeting in Baton Rouge where the gulf council will hear public opinion on 2014’s snapper season.
As of now, they’re proposing an 11 day recreational season. We all know with the snapper population is out there, but the science — however flawed it is — says otherwise. There is a very good chance that there will be no snapper season next year. Please support your Louisiana charterboat Association, it seems that CCA is sitting on the sidelines while we fight this fight. If CCA cares to join in or comment on this issue, please feel free.
LADWF have announced licensed anglers may harvest red snapper in state waters any day of the week through the end of the year or until Secretary Robert Barham closes the fishery. Prior to this announcement, the season had only been open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Bag and possession limits remain the same: two fish per person at a 16-inch-minimum length.
Where exactly anglers can fish during Louisiana’s red-snapper season is a matter of dispute. The state claims waters out to three marine leagues, or 10.35 miles, the same distance the federal government recognizes to be state waters for Texas and the west coast of Florida.
However, off the Louisiana coast, the federal government says state waters extend only three miles out. Normally, federal waters are patrolled by state fisheries agents, but those agents have not been issuing citations for anglers harvesting red snapper within the three-marine-league zone.
So the federal government has directed the U.S. Coast Guard to intercept anglers fishing in the disputed waters, and some of those anglers — who are well within their rights, according to the state of Louisiana — have been ticketed.
Everyone in South Louisiana enjoys red snapper. We enjoy taking customers fishing for snapper, too.
There’s plenty of fish in the sea. Plenty species, even, more so than just red snapper. But, this is an important species for our sport and for our dinner tables. We’ll keep you posted on developments as they arise. Thanks for keeping with us.