2018 Red Snapper Season

 

Recreational

  • The recreational sector will open for harvest on weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) on the following days:
    • August 10, 11, and 12, 2018 – The recreational season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 10, 2018, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 13, 2018.
    • August 17, 18, and 19, 2018 – The recreational season opens again at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 17, 2018, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 20, 2018.
    • The recreational annual catch limit will be 29,656 fish.
      • The recreational bag limit will be one red snapper per person per day.  This applies to private and charterboat/headboat vessels (the captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit).
      • No minimum size limit

 

  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • All species must be landed with head and fins intact.
    • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.
    • The sale of bag-limit caught snapper grouper species is prohibited.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) - This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Recreational ACLs from NOAA Fisheries.

Commercial

  • The commercial sector will open for harvest upon publication of the final rule at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 26, 2018, and will close at 11:59 p.m., local time, on December 31, 2018, unless the commercial annual catch limit is met or projected to be met before this date.
    • NOAA Fisheries will announce if the commercial sector needs to close before December 31, 2018.
    • The commercial annual catch limit will be 124,815 pounds whole weight (12,854 fish).
      • The commercial trip limit will be 75 pounds gutted weight. (trip limits are per day - if a vessel makes multiple trips per day, the 75lbs (gw) trip limit can only be harvested once per day
    • No minimum size limit

 

  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • The commercial harvest of red snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic requires a federal commercial snapper grouper permit. Permitted vessels must also adhere to coast guard requirements for commercial vessels. To learn more about how to acquire a permit, please visit the following link: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/operations_management_information_services/constituency_services_branch/permits/permit_apps/index.html
    • Harvesters must also possess the required state/local business and/or land and sell licenses. Contact your state marine resource agency for further information:
    • All species must be landed with head and fins intact.
    • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.
    • After the commercial quota is met, all purchase and sale is prohibited and harvest and/or possession is limited to the recreational bag limit. This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the quota being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer. Quotas are given in gutted weights.
    • Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NMFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow smalltooth sawfish release protocol. See the Handling and Release Protocol from NOAA Fisheries or call 727-824-5312.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) – This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Commercial ACLs (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries.

Each of the states in the South Atlantic (NC, SC, GA, and FL) will be increasing sampling efforts during the 2018 red snapper season. Please cooperate with these folks. To learn more about the sampling efforts that will be underway in your state, please see the following links:

The following information was provided by FishSmart. For more best fishing practices visit, www.fishsmart.org. Follows these tips to ensure safe and responsible angling.

 

Plan Ahead
  • Expect to release fish on any given trip and prepare the equipment necessary to do so. Know your fishing regulations.
Avoidance
  • Develop skills to target the size and species you desire.
  • Catch & release is ok, but if catching too many fish that you cannot, or do not want to keep, change the depth that you are fishing, move to a different area, or use different bait.
Appropriate Gear
  • Use gear suited to the size of fish that you are trying to catch including the size of hooks that catch fish that you want but not others.
  • Use circle hooks where recommended and be aware that fishing techniques are different from “J” style hooks. For more information about the impact of hook types and South Atlantic hook regulations see the sections below.
Landing Fish
  • Don’t play fish to exhaustion.
  • Use line strength to minimize playing time.
  • Land the fish as quickly as possible.
  • If possible, leave them in the water rather than bringing them out of the water.
Handling Fish
  • Use knotless rubberized landing nets and rubberized gloves, to avoid removing the slime layer from their body.
  • Keep the fish horizontal; support the body when lifting large fish.
  • DON’T DROP THE FISH onto hard surfaces or long distances! This causes great harm.
Releasing Fish
  • If needed, use a release tool (dehookers, recompression tools) to minimize handling and successfully release your catch.
Time is of the essence!
  • Release fish as soon as practical and do not keep them out of the water longer than necessary.

 

 

What are some best fishing practices for fish caught at deep depths?

The following information was provided by FishSmart. For more best fishing practices visit, www.fishsmart.org.

 

Assess condition while reeling in fish Signs of barotrauma include (any or all of the following):

  • Sluggish swimming.
  • “pop eye.”
  • stomach protruding from mouth.
  • Bloated mid-section.
  • Learn more about barotrauma in the section “What is Barotrauma” below.
  • If the fish appears normal release it without removing it from the water.
Recompression
  • Rapidly returning fish to depth (“recompression”) is the method of choice for returning barotrauma affected fish.
  • A variety of recompression tools are on the market, including descender devices, release weights, release baskets, and others.
  • Click the video here to see various recompression tools in action.

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyaxVhRmcDw

Return to Depth
  • Return fish to the depth of capture. If catching fish at very deep depths, returning them as deep as possible will dramatically improve survival.
Venting
  • If rapid descent is not possible, venting is another, but less preferable, option.
  • Use established guidelines for venting such as found at http://catchandrelease.org.
  • Note that the fish’s stomach may protrude from its mouth. Do NOT puncture the stomach.

 

What is Barotrauma?

Fish experience barotrauma, a condition caused by a change in pressure, when a fish is rapidly reeled to the surface. The change in pressure causes air in the swimbladder to expand and prevents the fish from being able to swim back down to the bottom. The inflated swimbladder acts like a “floatie” for children and keeps the fish at the surface. Barotrauma can occur when fish are brought up from depths as shallow as 30 feet. It is most common in fish reeled up from greater than 90 feet and becomes more severe when reeled up from deeper depths. Descending devices can be used to return fish back to the bottom. Signs of barotrauma are displayed in the pictures below.

 

Pictures provided by Brendan Runde, Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University

A released red snapper showing signs of barotrauma is unable to swim back down to the bottom after being released. Credit: Brendan Runde, Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University

 

What is the impact of hook type on a fish?

Hook type can influence the survivorship of released fish because certain hooks types are more likely to hook fish in the jaw. A jaw hooked fish is more likely to survive when released than a fish hooked in the stomach, eye, or gill. Please note:

  • Non-offset circle hooks are less likely to cause injury than other hook types.

Circle Hook

J Hook

Non-offset Circle Hook

Offset J Hook

Hooks were provided by Charleston Angler.

 

In a study by Bacheler and Buckel (2004), scientists investigated if the type of hook used while fishing impacted the number of grouper caught, the size of grouper, and the number of grouper injured by hooks. The scientists found that when circle hooks were used, injuries from hooks to groupers and other non-target species significantly decreased.

 

In another study, researchers looked at the amount of red snapper deaths due to hook related injuries. This information was developed by Sauls et al. in 2016 and presented in SEDAR 41. As displayed in the table below, non-offset circle hooks have the lowest chance of potentially lethal hooking.

Hook-Type Lip or Jaw Potentially Lethal Location Percent Potentially Lethal
Non-offset circle 652 31 4.5%
Offset circle 1,245 96 7.2%
Non-offset J 141 16 10.2%
Offset J 743 170 18.6%
Other (Kahle, Treble) 19 3 13.6%

The Hook Location is used to estimate release mortality.

 

Where is the circle hook regulation boundary?

Circle hooks are required when fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters north of 28 degrees North. This is approximately located east of Juan Ponce Park in Melbourne Beach, Florida.

 

We are excited to announce an opportunity for fishermen to voluntarily report their catch through the MyFishCount website and smartphone app

After hearing the requests of fishermen across the region, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in partnership with the Snook and Gamefish Foundation, created MyFishCount. MyFishCount is a recreational reporting app and website (MyFishCount.com) pilot project that allows recreational fishermen to report information about their trips and catches. Our hope is MyFishCount will complement current fishery monitoring programs and allow anglers to provide timely data to fishery scientists and managers.

The MyFishCount website was used during the 2017 South Atlantic red snapper mini-season. Over 350 anglers made MyFishCount member profiles and 341 trips were reported. The website also allowed anglers to report trips where anglers intended to fish but could not due to poor weather or other reasons. Anglers who reported that they could not fish because of poor weather conditions through MyFishCount helped in the decision to reopen the fishery for an additional weekend.  To view the information reported by anglers through the MyFishCount website, click here.

Anglers used MyFishCount to report their catch during the first weekend of the 2018 red snapper season. Click here to see the report!