Recreational Red Snapper Season

The recreational fishing season opens June 1, 2012. If these new quotas are implemented, the recreational season would be 40 days and would close on July 10, 2012.

Recreational landings exceeded the 2011 quota by 730,000 pounds. These landings also exceed the 2012 newly proposed quota, therefore, NOAA Fisheries  Service has projected the 40 day season to prevent landings from going over the 2012 quota.

The population of red snapper is growing and the fish are getting bigger, so more large fish are being caught more quickly, which fills the recreational quota faster.
Without the proposed quota increases for 2012, the 2011 recreational quotas would remain in effect, and the 2012 recreational season would be even less days than are projected.

For more information and how to comment

Red Snapper Increase in Total Allowable Catch (TAC)

NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in a regulatory amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). If implemented, this rule would increase the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery for the 2012 fishing year, and for the 2013 fishing year if NMFS determines the acceptable biological catch (ABC) is not exceeded in the 2012 fishing year. This rule would also eliminate the October 1 closure date of the recreational fishing season. This proposed rule is intended to provide more flexibility in managing recreational red snapper and to help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the Gulf red snapper resource without increasing the risk of
red snapper experiencing overfishing.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before April 27, 2012.

Agency Draft Recovery Plan for Alabama Sturgeon

The Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of the technical/agency draft recovery plan for the endangered Alabama Sturgeon. The draft recovery plan includes specific recovery objectives and criteria that would have to be met in order for us to downlist the species to be threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We request review and comment on this draft recovery plan from local, State, and Federal agencies, and the public.

DATES: In order to be considered, comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or before June 11, 2012.

Change to Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Retention Limit

NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2012, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and based on preliminary 2012 landings data. NMFS also closes the southern area Angling category fishery for large medium and giant (``trophy'') BFT. These actions are being taken consistent with the BFT fishery management objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP) and to prevent overharvest of the 2012 Angling category quota.

DATES: Effective April 7, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

Anglers From Alabama & Mississippi Sought to Help with Tarpon Research

The Annual tarpon migration along the north central Gulf Coast is approaching fast. During this years tarpon fishing season Sea Grant is requesting that Tarpon anglers get involved in the collection of tarpon DNA for research to help in the conservation of this great fish, especially along the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coasts. As reported by the Florida Wildlife Conservation (FWC) DNA samples returned to the FWC last year only produced 5 samples from Alabama and 3 from Mississippi.

The Southeastern Wildlife Conservation Group (SWCG) is heading up this effort along the Alabama/Mississippi Gulf Coasts and is asking for angler participation. They say the DNA sampling process is very easy and not harmful to the fish. You can watch a video of the sampling at The SWCG will distribute DNA Sampling kits, for more information or to request a sampling kit contact Mark Langner or you can visit


New Mississippi Reef Fish Regulations Proposed

The Mississippi Commission on Marine resources (CMR) voted to approve a notice of intent to change state regulations on size and possession limits of some fish and prohibit the sale of seafood by recreational fishermen. The proposed changes include lowering the grouper limit from an aggregate of five to four fish for recreational fishermen. Additionally, the changes would lower the possession of speckled hind grouper and warsaw grouper to only one fish per vessel within the four-fish aggregate.

Other changes include reducing the commercial minimum size limits for red snapper to 13 inches total length, red grouper to 18 inches total length and gag grouper to 22 inches total length. The notice also calls for a change in regulation to require any commercial fisherman, person, firm or corporation to be federally licensed to sell, barter trade reef fish species. The notice of intent to modify state regulation was filed with Mississippi Secretary of State’s office and public comments will be accepted through April 16, 2012.

All comments should be mailed to MDMR, Attention, Joe Jewell, 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, MS 39530 or emailed to A complete copy of the proposed changes is available here:

They're Back..Sturgeon Returning to Suwannee River

They’re back. Gulf sturgeon have begun their annual migration back into the Suwannee River. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers have reported seeing the fish jump already this year. People have been injured in accidental collisions with the jumping sturgeon. In 2011, six boaters were hurt and 11 encounters with sturgeon were reported.

“Last season, we had quite a few people hurt, some seriously,” said Maj. Roy Brown, regional law enforcement commander for the FWC’s North Central Region, based in Lake City. “Just one person getting hurt is too many. We want people to be aware the Gulf sturgeon are returning to the Suwannee, and the risk of injury to boaters does exist.”

In 2006, FWC officials began working on a public awareness campaign to alert boaters to the risks of jumping sturgeon. “We posted signs at each boat ramp along the Suwannee, explaining the risk of impacts with these fish,” Brown said. “Our officers will be on water patrol during this period and into the summer months in a continued effort to educate boaters about these jumping fish.”

What’s the best course of action for avoiding a collision?

Study Reveals New Information About Tarpon Movement

Seven years into the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Mote Marine Laboratory are gaining new insights into tarpon movement and seasonal habitat preferences. With the help of anglers participating in the study, researchers have confirmed that some tarpon move long distances, and others stay close to home. Biologists have also found evidence of a connection between tarpon habitats in southwest Florida and those of the Florida Keys.

Anglers sampled two tarpon in Charlotte Harbor during August 2010. Both fish were caught the following spring in the Florida Keys – more than 150 miles away. These tarpon were initially sampled inshore at the end of a spawning season, in close proximity to offshore areas in the Gulf where spawning is presumed to occur.

Study by NOAA and Partners Shows Some Gulf Dolphins Severely Ill

Bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, are showing signs of severe ill health, according to NOAA marine mammal biologists and their local, state, federal and other research partners. Barataria Bay, located in the northern Gulf of Mexico, received heavy and prolonged exposure to oil during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Based on comprehensive physicals of 32 live dolphins from Barataria Bay in the summer of 2011, preliminary results show that many of the dolphins in the study are underweight, anemic, have low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease. Nearly half also have abnormally low levels of the hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.

Gulf Council Meeting & Agenda

The meeting will be held April 16-19, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Omni Bayfront Hotel, 900 N.
Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, TX 78401; telephone: (361) 887-
    Council address: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203
North Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607.

Director, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; telephone: (813)

Click below for agenda