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Limited season on Red Snapper announced

image: red snapper
NOAA Fisheries announced the dates of a mini-season for red snapper in the South Atlantic Region on Friday, and recreational anglers will need to hastily plan their trips in order to harvest the species. The Sun News file photo
Outdoors
NOAA Fisheries announces dates for red snapper mini season

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

October 27, 2017 6:53 PM

NOAA Fisheries announced the dates of a mini-season for red snapper in the South Atlantic Region on Friday, and recreational anglers will need to hastily plan their trips in order to harvest the species.

The red snapper fishery will be open to harvest by recreational anglers for two consecutive three-day weekends – Nov. 3-5 and Nov. 10-12.

Red snapper can be harvested on those dates in federal waters (beyond three miles offshore) with a daily bag limit of one fish per person, per day. There is no minimum size limit on the red snapper harvested.

Commercial vessels can harvest up to 75 pounds (gutted weight) of red snapper per trip beginning on Nov. 2, also with no minimum size limit.

In late September, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a request by NOAA Fisheries to allow the limited harvest of red snapper, with NOAA Fisheries announcing the dates of the mini-season on Friday.

During the red snapper mini-season, marine resource agency personnel from the states involved (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida) will be conducting surveys at various locations and collecting samples from fishermen. Anglers are encouraged to cooperate with samplers and to provide carcasses for data collection.

Fishermen are also urged to use best fishing practices to minimize the number of released red snapper and help improve the likelihood that released fish will survive.

“The red snapper fishery has remained closed since 2014 because mortality estimates of the number of released fish exceeded the annual catch limit,” said Capt. Mark Brown, SAFMC Vice-Chairman and a full-time charter captain in Mt. Pleasant. “It is imperative that we use best practices. The key to having future access to red snapper lies in reducing the mortality of fish that are released.”

Upon reaching the boat’s limit of red snapper, anglers are urged to move to a different area to avoid the unnecessary catch and release of more fish.

Anglers are also advised to use single hook rigs – since the bag limit is 1 per person, as this potentially reduces the number of red snapper caught on one drop.

The use of descending devices is encouraged when releasing red snapper suffering from barotrauma.

Recreational anglers can report the details of their red snapper fishing trips via a voluntary pilot program being tested for the first time as the red snapper mini-season opens.

Anglers can visit www.MyFishCount.com, a new web portal that allows anglers to report their catches using photos to document lengths, as well as depths from which fish are caught. The portal also offers release techniques, hook type and other information. Anglers are encouraged to register online and to take photos and keep written records of the information while fishing for red snapper.

Gregg Holshouser: wholshouser@sc.rr.com