NOAA Announces Reopening of the 2021 Federal Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Recreational For-Hire Season

September 30, 2021
NOAA Announces Reopening of the 2021 Federal Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Recreational For-Hire Season

What/When:

  • The 2021 Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) red snapper fishing season in federal waters for vessels with federal for-hire (charter/headboat) reef fish permits was 63 days (opened June 1, 2021 and closed August 3, 2021).
  • Based on updated landings data, NOAA Fisheries determined that the red snapper recreational for-hire sector’s annual catch target was not reached during the open season. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries is reopening the season to provide Gulf for-hire fishermen opportunity to catch the remaining allocation. 
  • The Gulf federal red snapper for-hire season will reopen at 12:01 a.m., local time, on October 15, 2021, and will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on November 6, 2021.
  • Private Anglers Note: This reopening does not affect the recreational private angler season, which is determined by state agencies. Please check with your state agency for information on your state’s red snapper fishing season.

How The Season Was Determined:

  • The red snapper total recreational quota is 7,399,000 pounds whole weight. The private angling component is allocated 57.7% and the for-hire component is allocated 42.3%. 
  • For the for-hire component: 
    • The 2021 quota for the federal for-hire component is 3,130,000 pounds whole weight.
    • The annual catch target for the federal for-hire component is 2,848,000 pounds whole weight, which is 91% of the quota.
    • NOAA Fisheries estimates that Gulf recreational for-hire fishermen have caught 2,177,887 pounds of the 2,848,000-pound red snapper annual catch target. The estimated remaining landings that can be harvested is 670,113 pounds whole weight.
    • The estimated number of days for the federal for-hire component to harvest the remaining red snapper allocation was projected using recent catch rates and the average weight of harvested fish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is the Gulf recreational red snapper for-hire season reopening?
  • The annual catch target for the federal recreational red snapper for-hire component is 2,848,000 pounds whole weight. NOAA Fisheries estimates that Gulf recreational for-hire fishermen only caught 2,177,887 pounds whole weight of the 2,848,000-pound whole weight limit. This means 670,113 pounds whole weight of red snapper remains below the annual catch target.
  • If the annual catch target for the red snapper for-hire sector is not reached or exceeded during the normal open season, NOAA Fisheries may reopen this sector to allow fishermen opportunity to catch the remaining allocation without greatly increasing the risk of exceeding the annual catch target or the overfishing limit.
How was the length of the reopened season determined?
  • There are 670,113 pounds whole weight of red snapper left to be landed by this sector.
  • Recent daily catch rates (30,292 pounds whole weight per day) were used to determine the length of the reopened season.
  • Based on an estimated catch rate, the season is expected to last 22 days.
Will data from the Southeast For-Hire Electronic Reporting Program help with these reopenings in the future? 
  • Yes, data from the new Southeast For-Hire Electronic Reporting (SEFHIER) Program will help with future reopening of the red snapper federal for-hire fishing season.
  • The goal of the SEFHIER program is to provide more accurate, timely, and reliable information about for-hire catch, effort and discards.
  • This will provide nearly real time data to enable fishery managers to keep the season open longer while allowing anglers to more fully utilize the resource while remaining accountable to catch limits in a sustainable, data driven fishery
  • Data from the SEFHIER program were not used for this year’s season reopening determination because the program is still undergoing implementation and improvement.
  • Calibration is key when any new data set is to be considered for science and management. The SEFHIER program must reach full compliance (all for-hire vessels enrolled), then must collect approximately 3 years of data for comparison to MRIP.
  • Side-by-side comparisons between MRIP and the SEFHIER program are required before landings from the SEFHIER program can be validated and used for inseason landing estimates, as well as stock assessments and management decisions.
How is the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper private angler component managed?
  • The recreational red snapper private angler component is determined by each of the Gulf of Mexico states. It is not affected by this reopening.
  • The reopening also does not apply to private anglers or operators of state licensed for-hire vessels without a federal for-hire permit because they are considered a part of the red snapper private angling component. 
  • Please check with your state agency for information on your state’s red snapper fishing season.
How is the Gulf of Mexico commercial red snapper sector managed?
  • The commercial harvest of red snapper is managed under an Individual Fishing Quota system and will remain open.
Where can I find more information on the red snapper fishery in the Gulf?