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April 22, 2013

Florida Defies Federal Regs, Announces Extended Red Snapper Season

The state joins Louisiana and Texas in allowing anglers a season longer than that proposed by NOAA Fisheries, the shortest ever for the species.

In past years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has usually set the recreational season for red snapper fishing in its state waters (out to nine miles) to match that of federal regulations.

But last week, the commission announced it would provide anglers an extended season in state waters. While NOAA Fisheries is recommending a 21-day red snapper season in federal waters, this year Florida anglers can fish state waters for red snapper for 44 days. The season begins June 1 and ends July 14.

Florida joins other Gulf states such as Louisiana and Texas in allowing sport fishermen to harvest red snapper in state waters for a considerably longer period than federal rules allow.

Just the week before, the governors of four Gulf states in a joint letter asked for passage of federal legislation to allow states to manage red snapper stocks off their shores. And federal legislators from Gulf Coast states introduced the Offshore Fairness Act to extend state management boundaries from Virginia to Louisiana.