The recreational season for red snapper will close this Friday, Aug. 14 at midnight, in Louisiana and federal waters, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminded fishermen today.

All red snapper must be landed and on shore no later than 12:01 a.m., Aug. 15. No possession of red snapper by fishermen on the water is allowed after that time.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham announced the season in May following the announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that red snapper season would close in federal waters on Aug. 14. LDWF chose to enact the same closure date for Louisiana waters to enhance the effectiveness and enforceability of NOAA regulations and to ensure the recreational red snapper quota is not exceeded in the 2009 fishing year.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) estimated that recreational fishers in the Gulf exceeded 2008's annual red snapper catch limit by approximately 1.2 million pounds and federal law requires that harvest levels must be reduced in the year following a previous year's over harvest.

To offset last year's over harvest, the NMFS shortened the 2009 recreational red snapper harvest season in Gulf federal waters (beyond three nautical miles from shore) from June 1 through Sept. 30 to June 1 through Aug. 14. The fishery will reopen June 1, 2010.

Approximately 97 percent of all red snapper landed in Louisiana are caught in federal waters.

Secretary Barham was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their January, 2009 meeting to change or modify opening and closing dates for the recreational red snapper season in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters. This action ensures that regulations in state waters will mirror regulations of NMFS for federally managed waters.