44 Day Florida State Waters Recreational Red Snapper Season begins June 1

The 2013 Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season begins June 1 in state and federal waters.

This year’s state season is 44 days long and will be open through July 14 with the first day of the closure being July 15. The federal season off Florida will be 26 days long.

The state season was approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at its April 17 meeting in Tallahassee. State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in Gulf waters; federal waters extend beyond that line to 200 nautical miles.

Red Snapper Quota and 2013 Federal Recreational Season

NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper. The rule sets the 2013 quotas for commercial and recreational red snapper harvest. The agency is increasing the quota because the population is growing. The red snapper overall quota will increase from the 2012 8.080 million pounds whole weight to 8.460 pounds whole weight for 2013.

Recreational Season

Webinar Meeting Amendment 20


The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's CMP Advisory Panel will meet via webinar begining 10:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013, and concluding no later than 11:30 a.m. 

The Advisory Panel will review materials related to the development and selection of preferred alternatives for Action 6 of Draft Amendment 20 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery Management Plan.


Regional Management of Red Snapper in the Gulf of the Mexico?

In Amendment 39, the Council is considering management measures to modify and facilitate management of the recreational red snapper component of the reef fish fishery by reorganizing the Federal fishery management strategy to better account for biological, social, and economic differences among the regions of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). Regional management of recreational red snapper in the Gulf would enable regions and their associated communities to specify the optimal management parameters that best meet the needs of their local constituents thereby addressing regional socio-economic concerns. These alternatives will consider regional management for the recreational harvest of red snapper in the Gulf including the delegation of management to the regions and accountability measures necessary to prevent overfishing.

NMFS, Southeast Region, in collaboration with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) intends to prepare a DEIS to describe and analyze a range of alternatives for management actions to be included in Amendment 39 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 39). The purpose of this NOI is to inform the public of upcoming opportunities to provide comments on the actions to be addressed in the DEIS, as specified in this notice.

Written comments on the scope of issues to be addressed in the DEIS must be received by NMFS by June 12, 2013.

Illegal Fishing in Gulf of Mexico

An endangered sea turtle and five sharks were released to the Gulf of Mexico late Sunday after the U.S. Coast Guard spotted Mexicans fishing illegally in U.S. waters, about a mile north of the U.S. and Mexico border. The lanchas were spotted by a Coast Guard air crew aboard an HU-25 Falcon jet, during a patrol of the border.

So far this year, Sector Corpus Christi and its units have seized 11 lanchas and more than 13 miles of fishing gear. Additionally, 513 fish and 86 sharks have been seized, and one live sea turtle has been returned to the sea.

Cobia & Spanish Mackerel Benchmark Assessments


The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene a meeting of the Standing, Special Mackerel and Ecosystem Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSC) to review the final results of the SEDAR 28 cobia and Spanish mackerel benchmark assessments.

The meeting will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 and conclude by 12 p.m. Friday, May 31, 2013.


Final Rule for Gray Triggerfish

NMFS issues this final rule to implement management measures for gray triggerfish described in Amendment 37 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). This final rule revises the commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs) and annual catch targets (ACTs) for gray triggerfish; revises the recreational accountability measures (AMs) for gray triggerfish; revises the gray triggerfish recreational bag limit; establishes a commercial trip limit for gray triggerfish; and establishes a fixed closed season for the gray triggerfish commercial and recreational sectors. Additionally, Amendment 37 modifies the gray triggerfish rebuilding plan. The purpose of Amendment 37 and this final rule is to end overfishing of gray triggerfish and help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the gray triggerfish resource in accordance with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).


Seasonal Closure of the Commercial and Recreational Sectors

This final rule establishes a seasonal closure of the gray triggerfish commercial and recreational sectors in the Gulf from June through July, each year. This fixed seasonal closure assists the rebuilding of the gray triggerfish stock by prohibiting harvest during the gray triggerfish peak spawning season. Additionally, June and July are the months that have the highest percentage of recreational landings.

Recreational Bag Limit

Gray triggerfish currently have a recreational bag limit that is part of the 20-fish aggregate reef fish bag limit. However, the aggregate recreational bag limit has no specific limit for recreational gray triggerfish landings, meaning all 20 fish harvested under the bag limit could be gray triggerfish. This final rule establishes a 2-fish gray triggerfish recreational bag limit within the 20-fish aggregate reef fish bag limit. This bag limit would apply until the recreational ACT is reached or projected to be reached during a fishing year and the recreational sector is closed.


This rule is effective June 10, 2013 except for the amendments to Sec. Sec.  622.39(a)(1)(vi) and 622.41(b) which are effective May 9, 2013.


Eliminate the Venting Tool Requirement and Other Issues

NOAA Seeks Comments on a Proposed Rule to Set a Bag Limit for Vermilion Snapper, Set the Annual Catch Limit for Yellowtail Snapper, and Eliminate the Venting Tool Requirement
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would set a bag limit for vermilion snapper, set the annual catch limit for yellowtail snapper, and eliminate the venting tool requirement. The proposed rule will publish on May 7, 2013, with the comment period ending June 6, 2013.

FWC Scientists Discover New Bass Species

Scientists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have uncovered a new species of black bass in the southeastern United States. Scientists have proposed naming the new species the Choctaw bass and recommended the scientific name of Micropterus haiaka. They revealed their discovery at a meeting of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society earlier this year.

Interrelationships between Coral Reef and Fisheries


The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene a workshop of subject matter experts on Interrelationships between Coral Reef and Fisheries.

The workshop will convene at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 20 and conclude by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.