LWF Commission sets 2020 recreational red snapper season

(Photo courtesy Seth Greene)

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced the 2020 recreational red snapper season will begin on Friday, May 22, in both state and federal waters. The season will run weekends only (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday including the Monday of Memorial Day and the Monday of Labor Day, July 4 falls on a Saturday and will be part of the season as designated) with a daily bag limit of two fish per person and a 16-inch total length minimum size limit.

The season will remain open until recreational landings approach or reach Louisiana’s annual private recreational allocation of 784,332 pounds. This is 19.1 percent of the gulf-wide red snapper private angling quota and adjusted for last year’s overage.

Louisiana is operating under its first year of state delegated management, which allows the department to manage the private recreational red snapper season in state and federal waters.

Resident and Non-Resident Recreational Anglers:

  • Must possess valid Louisiana Basic and Saltwater Recreational Fishing Licenses as well as a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit(free of charge) to fish for or possess red snapper, as well as other offshore species.
  • Anglers get a ROLP via the ROLP website or smartphone application (Google Play or iTunes). Once you have registered, save an electronic copy on your mobile device or print a copy of your ROLP indicating your valid ROLP and carry it on your person along with applicable licenses while fishing offshore.

State For-Hire Charter Vessels: 

  • State for-hire charter captains (those who do not have a federal Gulf of Mexico charter/headboat permit for reef fish) are not allowed to fish in federal waters.
  • May only fish for red snapper in state waters (within the 9 nautical mile state water boundary), when the Louisiana recreational red snapper season is open.

Federal For-Hire Charter Vessels: 

  • Vessels with federal reef fish for-hire permits will remain under federal regulations and may only fish during federally established seasons.
  • May only fish in federal waters during the 62-day federal for-hire season from June 1 through August 1, 2020.
  • If a federal for-hire charter captain also holds a Louisiana charter license, he/she may also fish state waters only when the federal for-hire charter season overlaps with the Louisiana season.

LA Creel

All recreational offshore anglers will be subject to periodic, 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, we strongly urge your participation, 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 we need as many anglers as possible to complete both dockside and phone and email surveys.

Those who fish for red snapper will also have the option to electronically report their catch 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.

LDWF also encourages anglers to reduce barotrauma while fishing for red snapper and other reef fish by using descending devices to return fish to a survivable depth before being released. Please see the LDWF website at https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/barotrauma for more information.

For additional questions regarding the upcoming red snapper season, the Exempted Federal Fishing Permit, or voluntary electronic reporting, please reference our FAQs.

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