Feds May Turn Over Red Snapper Management to States

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council votes to allow states to test their management of red snapper
red snapper sport fishing
The sport-fishing industry has pushed hard for federal management to be turned over to the five Gulf states. While not yet a done deal, it’s a step closer per the Gulf Council’s action. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Mary Jane Williamson, Communications Director
American Sportfishing Association

Gulf Council Advances Proposals for States to Manage Red Snapper

Sportfishing industry believes that states’ management will benefit red snapper conservation and fishing access

Alexandria, VA – February 1, 2018 – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) applauds today’s vote by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to approve Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs) for each of the five Gulf states that will allow each state to manage recreational fishing for red snapper.


“As an organization that has long pushed for state management of Gulf red snapper, we are thankful for the Gulf Council’s vote to allow the states to test red snapper management,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Conservation director. “Each of the Gulf states are to be commended for putting forward well-thought-out proposals that will demonstrate their ability to effectively manage recreational red snapper fishing.”

The EFPs, which cover the 2018 and 2019 fishing years, will allow recreationally caught red snapper to be landed within certain time periods determined by the respective states.

Red snapper landings would be monitored by the states, and the respective state seasons would close when a state’s quota is caught or projected to be caught. These studies are intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of state management of recreationally caught red snapper.


“While much work remains to be done, today’s vote is a significant step in the right direction for Gulf anglers and the businesses that depend on red snapper fishing,” said Leonard.

Development and approval of the Gulf states’ EFPs was facilitated by language from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill that directed NOAA Fisheries to develop the fishery management pilot program allowing states to manage Gulf red snapper.

“Thanks in large part to the efforts of leaders in Congress such as Sen. Shelby, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), state management of Gulf red snapper is getting closer to reality,” noted Leonard.


With the Gulf Council’s approval, NOAA is now required to publish the plans and allow for a 30-day comment period. NOAA must then ratify each plan before implementation begins.