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From Oct. 1 - Nov. 22 on weekends...

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has agreed to reopen the recreational red snapper season for 24 more fishing days in 2010 – on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only – beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2010 through 12:01 p.m. on Nov. 22.

The “supplemental” red snapper season was approved at the Gulf Council’s Aug. 16-20 meeting in Pensacola. NOAA Fisheries, which accepted public comment on the emergency rule through Aug. 31, will review, approve and implement the extended season.

In June, the Gulf Council requested that NOAA Fisheries begin developing a rule 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 was 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 recently said it had determined that approximately 2.3 millions pounds of the 3.4 million pound recreational quota was not caught. In other red snapper news, the Gulf Council discussed possible “regional management” of red snapper and asked staff to continue working on a draft discussion paper exploring options for dividing the red snapper stock into sub-units (“catch shares” or “sector separation”) between recreational fisherman and for-hire charter captains.

The Gulf Council also discussed an increase in the Gulf red snapper total allowable catch (TAC) for 2011-12. The Council directed staff to proceed with a rule amendment, setting a total allowable catch at 7.185 million pounds for 2011. That would mean a slight increase in the commercial (3.664 million pounds) and recreational (3.520 million pounds) quotas.

For more information, go online to: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/ or http://www.gulfcouncil.org/.