If you’ve got a red snapper trip coming up off the Louisiana coast, you’re good to go — at least for now.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, if anglers continue to catch red snapper at the current rate they’ve done so far this extended season, it could last until Sept. 4, the official closure date.
“The current harvest rates are certainly lower than we were expecting, so we are able to keep the season open at this time,” LDWF assistant secretary for fisheries Patrick Banks said in a press release.
However, he did point out it is very unlikely the current average weekly catch of 66,000 pounds will hold.
Louisiana has a self-imposed limit of approximately 15 percent of the total Gulf of Mexico catch, or about 1.04 million pounds of red snapper for 2017.
According to the latest LA Creel estimated harvest rate, Louisiana anglers would only catch 902,616 pounds of red snapper by Sept. 4.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission ordered LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet to close the red snapper season when it appears Louisiana’s catch will exceed the 1.04-million-pound limit.
Louisiana is part of an agreement reached earlier this summer with the four other Gulf states and the U.S. Department of Commerce that allows recreational anglers to fish 200 miles from the Louisiana coast for red snapper for 39 days. The extended season opened June 16 and will continue for now on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only through Labor Day.
Under the agreement with Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, there will be no red snapper fishing in state waters – out nine miles from the Louisiana coast – on Mondays through Thursdays, except on Labor Day, Sept. 4. Anglers are limited to two fish, measuring at least 16 inches per day.