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Gulf snapper opens June 1!

The 2009 Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season opens Monday, June 1 and will close at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 15, 2009. The season is official as long as the State of Florida (FWC) agrees to adopt the same season dates.

Early indications are that the FWC will comply by passing the same season dates at its June meeting.

The minimum recreational size limit for red snapper is 16 inches, and the bag/possession limit is two fish per person. Charter vessel crew and captain are prohibited from retaining the recreational bag limit.

Federal fishery managers say the Aug. 15 early closure is necessary because data shows that the 2008 recreational catch in the Gulf exceeded the quota by approximately 1.2 million pounds, and federal rules require a reduction in harvest when the quota is met or projected to be met.

NOAA Fisheries Service has said the shortened season is necessary to prevent overfishing and to keep the recreational fishery from exceeding its quota during the 2009 fishing year.