The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has scheduled a series of Gulf of Mexico red snapper workshops for recreational stakeholders beginning in late July to discuss state and federal management of recreational red snapper. The workshops will also explore potential future approaches to managing this fishery in an effort to ensure optimal access for Florida’s resident and visiting anglers.
The FWC Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Logo. Photo: myfwc.com
Anglers who would like to share their ideas and help improve management are encouraged to attend.
All meetings will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. local time and are set for:
- July 28: Pensacola, Pensacola City Hall (2nd-floor Hagler Mason room), 222 W. Main St.
- July 29: Destin, Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave.
- July 30: Panama City, Florida State University – Panama City, lecture hall of Holley Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive
- July 31: Carrabelle, Carrabelle City Hall cafeteria, 1001 Gray Ave.
- Aug. 11: St. Petersburg, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 3rd-floor conference room, 100 Eighth Ave. SE.
- 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, including 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.
Capt. Pat Kelly, President
Florida Guides Association