The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission on Thursday set the recreational red snapper season in both federal and state waters to kick off on Friday, May 25, according to a news release from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

The season will run seven days a week with a daily bag limit of two fish per person and a 16-inch total length minimum size limit until landings approach or reach Louisiana’s recreational allocation of 743,000 pounds.

This year’s season differs from prior years with state and federal seasons running concurrently because federal fisheries managers approved the LDWF’s application for an Exempted Fishing Permit to manage the private recreational snapper season in state and federal waters in 2018 and 2019. 

Under the EFP, participating anglers will be allowed to fish red snapper in the state territorial seas and adjoining federal EEZ, from shore to 200 nautical miles, during the season set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. NOAA Fisheries will continue to regulate federal for-hire charter vessels, according to the release. 

The intent of the state’s EFP is to test a state-based management approach that allows the recreational harvest of red snapper in federal waters off Louisiana’s coast.

“This is a significant beginning for Louisiana. We now have the charge to manage both the state and federal red snapper seasons,” LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “It is our job to make sure that this is a success, and we will be calling on our anglers to assist.”

“Since I came on as Secretary, Gov. John Bel Edwards has said Louisiana has done everything necessary to manage the state and federal waters off our coast,” Montoucet said. “I know that he and other Louisiana state and federal officials who have promoted this idea are happy to see this day.”

Red snapper anglers must possess a valid Louisiana Basic and Saltwater fishing license, as well as a free Recreational Offshore Landing Permit.

Anglers can also sign up via the ROLP website or smartphone app to participate. Just log into your ROLP account and click the link to register to fish for red snapper under the EFP. Once you have registered, save an electronic copy on your mobile device, or print a copy of your ROLP indicating your EFP registration and carry it on your person along with applicable licenses while fishing under the EFP.

All EFP participants will be subject to random LA Creel dockside surveys and associated online and phone effort surveys, as has been the case since 2014 when LA Creel began. 

While these surveys are voluntary, the Department strongly urges anglers to participate, as this will be the primary method for tracking harvest. The accuracy and reliability of harvest estimates depend on angler participation in LA Creel, so it needs as many anglers as possible to complete both dockside and phone and email surveys.

Those who opt to fish under the EFP also have the option to test electronic reporting via the ROLP smartphone application or mobile and desktop version of the ROLP website. LDWF hopes that voluntary use of electronic reporting will provide the department with a larger sample size than standard dockside and telephone sampling, improving the quality of recreational landings data to make future management recommendations. Electronic reporting could also provide landings data even faster than LA Creel. If you opt in to voluntary electronic reporting, you may also be contacted to participate in LA Creel.