(NEWSLETTER - Spring 2019)
Summer is just around the corner and so is the 2019 federal Atlantic red snapper season. The recreational season will be July 12-14 and July 19-20. The commercial season opens July 8. I know many of you are looking forward to getting on the water to participate in this very popular fishery.
Before you go, make sure you know the regulations. Recreational anglers can keep one red snapper each day and there is no size limit. Commercial harvesters may land 75 pounds per day. While fishing, you’re also likely to encounter other snapper grouper species, so make sure you know those regulations too! You can find them on the Council’s website (www.safmc.net/regulations) or you can take them with you on your smartphone with the Fish Rules app (www.fishrulesapp.com).
During the open season, recreational anglers can help managers by providing catch information and biological samples. Please use the MyFishCount mobile app (myfishcount.com) to provide data on your fishing activity. This data can help the Council improve our management of the red snapper fishery. You can read more about MyFishCount here: www.myfishcount.com. You can also help inform future stock assessments by providing biological samples to your state’s fisheries agency and by participating in state surveys. Florida FWC, Georgia DNR, and South Carolina DNR will be conducting interviews and collecting samples at docks and boat ramps. In Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, you can drop off your red snapper carcass at designated sites and it will be used for research. All of the data and biological samples will help provide information for the next red snapper stock assessment, scheduled to begin in 2020.
The Council has been actively promoting best fishing practices to improve the survival of fish that you choose to or must release. Descending devices and non-offset circle hooks are proven tools that increase the post-release survival of discarded fish. Before you hook up with a fish that you do not or cannot keep, learn more about these tools here: https://www.myfishcount.com/bestpractices. Take advantage of the new online tutorial and an opportunity to obtain a free descending device by clicking the “Best Practices” tab at: http://safmc.net/electronic-reporting-projects/myfishcount/.
Prior to the 2019 federal red snapper season, the Council is already looking ahead to the 2020 season. We would like to add greater flexibility in determining when future seasons start, for example maybe a spring or fall season instead of a summer season, and determining on which days the season occurs. We view all recreational and commercial fishermen as our partners in management, so we would really like your input on these topics. The Council will be discussing options during its June 10-14 meeting in Hutchinson Island, Florida. You can provide your input on this and other federal fisheries items by using the online comment form available here: http://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/council-meetings/.
I hope to see you on the water.