Snapper season extension under consideration, could begin Oct. 1

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met in Florida last week and recommended the recreational red snapper season reopen beginning at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1, although fishing would be allowed only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The extended season will close at 12:01 p.m. Nov. 22.

The measure will be reviewed by NOAA Fisheries and, if approved, implemented. NOAA Fisheries is currently accepting comment on the proposed emergency action through Aug. 31.

In June, the Gulf Council requested that NOAA Fisheries Service institute rulemaking to reopen the recreational red snapper season later this year if it was determined that the 2010 quota was not filled before the fishery closed on July 24.

The rationale is that the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and subsequent federal fishing area closure resulted in reduced fishing effort, leaving the recreational red snapper quota unfilled.

NOAA Fisheries has determined that approximately 2.3 millions pounds of the 3.4 million pound recreational quota remains.

Comments on the matter must be received no later than 4 p.m. (CST)on Aug. 31, and should focus on whether or not NOAA Fisheries Service should have the authority to re-open the recreational red snapper season after Sept. 30.

You can voice your opinion on the matter by submitting comments, identified by “0648-BA06″, by any one of the following methods:

• Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at See instructions below.

• Fax: 727.824.5308, Attn: Steve Branstetter

• Mail: Steve Branstetter, Southeast Regional Office, NOAA Fisheries Service, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701.

To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: (, enter “NOAA-NMFS-2010-0124” in the keyword search, then check the box labeled “Select to find documents accepting comments or submissions”, then select “Send a Comment or Submission.” NOAA Fisheries Service will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Comments received by August 31, 2010, will be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service in its decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve the proposed actions. All comments received by NOAA Fisheries Service will be addressed in the final rule.

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