NOAA Fisheries announced anglers will have four days to harvest red snapper in the South Atlantic: July 10 - 12 and July 17. This is welcome news for the boating and fishing community considering the expectation in March was a zero to three-day season.
Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy, said in a release, "Earlier this year, it was possible that anglers would have no red snapper season at all on the South Atlantic coast, but because the recreational fishing community worked with willing Council members and partners in the Administration, we have an announcement of some access to this iconic fishery.”
Since 2010, the recreational sector has been allowed to harvest red snapper in South Atlantic federal waters a cumulative total of 37 days despite increasing abundance of fish.
The Center for Sportfishing Policy said there needs to be better catch data, more accurate stock assessments, and better coordination between state and federal partners.
Although expected soon, NOAA Fisheries has yet to implement the South Atlantic descending device rule (Amendment 29), which was unanimously approved by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in September 2019 and well-received during its public comment period.
Recreational fishing and boating industry executives met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross a week ago at Maverick Boat Group in Fort Pierce, Fla. The message to the Secretary was clear: fishing access leads to U.S. job creation.
“We feel things are moving in the right direction in the South Atlantic,” said Angers. “We have many tools at our disposal to continue improving access for anglers including a model of success with state management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. We will continue working with the South Atlantic Council and the Commerce Department to strike the right balance of conservation and access.”