The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hosting a Gulf of Mexico red snapper workshop Monday, Aug. 11 in St. Petersburg for recreational stakeholders to discuss state and federal management of recreational red snapper.
The workshop also will explore potential future approaches to managing this fishery in an effort to ensure optimal access for Florida’s resident and visiting anglers.
Anglers who would like to share their ideas and help improve management are encouraged to attend.
The meeting is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, third floor conference room, 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg.
Red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida are managed by the FWC in state waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles) and by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in federal waters (beyond 9 nautical miles).
These snapper are largely harvested in federal waters but also occur and are harvested recreationally in state waters off northwest Florida. Because of management constraints, the federal season has consistently been shortened for several years in a row, even though the recreational quota, or total poundage of fish that could be caught by anglers, has increased and the red snapper population has improved.
This year’s federal season was the shortest yet, at nine days. Florida’s state season was 52 days.
The FWC is seeking input from recreational anglers about how to better manage recreational harvest of this species at the state and federal level while continuing to rebuild the fishery. Several management options that are being considered for federal waters by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will be discussed. Options include sector separation, which entails dividing the federal recreational red snapper quota into separate private-angler and for-hire quotas; an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for federally permitted charter and head boats, similar to the existing program for commercial vessels, which allots a specific portion of fish to individual vessels; and regional management, in which the recreational fishery in federal waters could be managed on a state-by-state basis.
These workshops offer stakeholders an opportunity to share their expectations for the red snapper fishery and their ideas on potential management options for state and federal waters.