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Georgia DNR and NOAA Fisheries Collecting Red Snapper Data

Georgia DNR is working with NOAA Fisheries to collect data on harvest, discards, and fishing effort during the red snapper recreational mini-season scheduled to open later this week. Recreational anglers will be allowed to harvest red snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic during the weekend of July 9-11.

Each recreational angler is allowed one red snapper per day with no size restriction.

If you decide to fish for red snapper, there are several ways you can help the Georgia DNR collect valuable data.

You can place your red snapper carcasses in a chest freezer located along the Georgia Coast. List of participating marinas and chest freezer locationsA $50 Academy Sports gift card will be randomly awarded to two participants who donate red snapper carcasses.

You can provide information about each of your fishing trips by completing a brief Red Snapper Fishing Survey.

Anglers are encouraged to visit safmc.net/best-fishing-practices to learn more about releasing fish (e.g., videos of fish released with a descending device, how to use various types of devices, best practices to release fish).  Descending devices rapidly descend fish to the depth at which they were caught.  Releasing at depth has the potential to significantly improve survival.  As of July 15, 2020, NOAA now requires fishermen targeting snapper grouper offshore to have a descending device on board, rigged and ready for use.

Thank you for providing your email address when obtaining your fishing license and Saltwater Information Program (SIP) permit.  We appreciate the opportunity to email you and share this information directly with you.

Additional information about the red snapper recreational mini-season can be found in the NOAA  press release below:

Each year, NOAA Fisheries announces the season opening dates for red snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic, in addition to the recreational season length.  For the 2021 season:

  • The recreational sector will open for harvest on the following 3 days:
    • July 9, 10, and 11, 2021 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) – The recreational season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 9, 2021, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 12, 2021.
  • The commercial sector will open for harvest at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 12, 2021, and will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2022, unless the commercial annual catch limit is met or projected to be met before this date.
    • If the commercial sector closes before 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2022, NOAA Fisheries will announce it in the Federal Register and publish another Fishery Bulletin.

During the Limited Open Seasons:

  • The total annual catch limit is 42,510 fish.
  • The recreational annual catch limit is 29,656 fish.
    • The recreational bag limit is 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).
  • The commercial annual catch limit is 124,815 pounds whole weight (12,854 fish).
    • The commercial trip limit is 75 pounds gutted weight.
  • There is no minimum or maximum size limits for the recreational or commercial sectors.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How did NOAA Fisheries determine the red snapper season length for the recreational sector?

  • NOAA Fisheries used 2019 and 2020 recreational catch rate estimates to predict the recreational landings in 2021.
  • Catch rate estimates were available from the following data sources:

(1) red snapper specific surveys for private recreational and charter vessel anglers conducted by South Atlantic states,

(2) Marine Recreational Information Program, and

(3) the Southeast Region Headboat Survey.

Why is the red snapper recreational season shorter in 2021 than last year (2020)?

  • In 2020, the recreational season was open for 4 days, and recreational landings exceeded the recreational annual catch limit.
  • Since NOAA Fisheries estimates the season length based upon catch rates from the previous years, this year is shorter by one day to reduce the likelihood that the recreational landings would exceed the recreational annual catch limit in 2021.

What are some Best Fishing Practices while fishing for red snapper?

  • The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council identified the following best practices to reduce release mortality and further protect the population as it rebuilds:
    • Avoid areas likely to have red snapper if you already have met your recreational bag limit. If you are approaching your commercial vessel limit, move to a different area.
    • When red snapper are out of season, avoid areas where they are common.
    • Use single hook rigs since the recreational bag limit for red snapper during the proposed limited fishing seasons will be one per person per day. This will potentially reduce the number of red snapper that are caught on one drop.
    • Use non-offset circle hooks while fishing in areas where red snapper are common.
    • Use a dehooking device to remove the hook. Keep fish in the water if you plan to release them or return them to the water as quickly as possible.
    • Use descending devices when releasing fish with signs of barotrauma.

Where can I find more information on the red snapper limited openings?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

By Mail: Mary Vara

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office, Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By Phone: (727) 824-5305

By FAX: (727) 824-5308

  • Other contacts:

Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707

Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750

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