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Louisiana agrees to 39-day red snapper season in Gulf waters

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana anglers can get ready for a very busy season of fishing for red snapper.

A U.S. Department of Commerce agreement with Louisiana and the four other Gulf states will give recreational anglers 39 days – between June 16 and Sept. 4 – to fish for red snapper in federal waters.

Recreational anglers will be able to start fishing out 200 miles from the Louisiana coast for red snapper every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Sept. 4. Also included are Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4, along with Labor Day on Sept. 4.

“This was an easy decision,” Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “This is what Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he wanted since my appointment. He wanted more days on the water for our anglers and the ability to get more red snapper. This does both. We’re pleased with this agreement and thank all involved for helping make this happen.”

The agreement was reached Wednesday in negotiations with the U.S. Commerce Department and Fisheries leaders in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas.

Anglers will be able to reel in red snapper up to Louisiana’s self-imposed catch limit of approximately 14 percent of the overall Gulf catch. Secretary Montoucet was directed by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission on Monday to close the state waters if the catch limit is met before Sept. 4 and there would be no fall season in state waters. If the catch limit is not met by Sept. 4, there could be a fall red snapper season in state waters until the catch limit is met.

Under the agreement, there would be no red snapper fishing in state waters – out 9 miles from the Louisiana coast – on Mondays through Thursdays, except on July 3-4 and Sept. 4.

LDWF sees this program as a two-fold opportunity for Louisiana which could lead to the state gaining control of its fishing seasons in both state and federal waters.

During the 39-day fishing period, LDWF will use LA Creel, the state’s near real-time catch data program, “to be sure that anglers don’t exceed the state’s self-imposed harvest limit,” Montoucet said.

The LDWF will periodically make public the overall catch totals.

“If we manage this effort responsibly and stay within established conservation standards, we stand a better chance of gaining control of fishing for red snapper in federal waters in the future,” he said. “With the cooperation of our anglers, we can make this happen.”

Here are the red snapper fishing days: June 16-18, June 23-25, June 30 – July 4, July 7-9, July 14-16, July 21-23, July 28-30, Aug. 4-6, Aug. 11-13, Aug. 18-20, Aug. 25-27 and Sept. 1-4.