Red snapper opens, amberjack closes in Gulf
The Gulf of Mexico red snapper recreational harvest season begins June 1 in state and federal waters. The last day of the 40-day season is July 10.
The harvest of snook in Atlantic Ocean state and federal waters and that of greater amberjack in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters closes June 1.
This year’s state season, which is the same as the 2012 federal recreational red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico, was set in May at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting. Florida state waters in the Gulf extend from shore out nine nautical miles; federal waters extend beyond that to 200 nautical miles. State waters in the Atlantic extend from shore to three nautical miles.
The Gulf red snapper stock is improving, but the population still needs an increase in the number of older fish for it to be sustainable. Red snapper are estimated to live more than 50 years, but the current stock consists primarily of fish that are only a few years old. Older fish are the key to rebuilding the population because older female red snapper produce more eggs than younger females.
This season will help continue to rebuild the red snapper population so that more red snapper fishing opportunities will be possible in the future.
Snook will reopen for harvest in Atlantic federal, state and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, on Sept. 1. Snook remain closed for harvest in Gulf of Mexico state waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County, through Aug. 31. A stock assessment on snook will be presented to the FWC Commission at its June 27-28 meeting in West Palm Beach.
Greater amberjack season reopens for harvest in Gulf state and federal waters on Aug. 1.
Seasonal harvest closures protect Florida’s valuable snook and greater amberjack populations and help sustain and improve the fishery for the future.