FWC Announces Extension to Red Snapper Season - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

FWC Announces Extension to Red Snapper Season

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced the decision, Friday, to hold an additional red snapper harvesting season in state waters.  

For many private fisherman this is great news, but many others, like charter boat captains are left waiting to hear if they will have their chance at extra red snapper.

"Red snapper is one of the hugely sought after fish, because its a prized fish for this area," said Mike Sullivan, a charter boat captain.

"With some new information that came into NOAA last week. they are saying that there may not be a fall season this year, which there should be," said Pam Anderson, Captain Anderson's Marina.  "The FWC is seeing the information said yes we will have the season in state waters."

Gulf state waters will be open October 1-21. State waters are considered the shore to 9 nautical miles, anything farther than that is considered federal waters up to 200 miles. Only those with state permits will be allowed to fish during the 21 day season.   

"For us that are for hire, federally permitted vessels, it doesn't make any difference for us because we are not allowed to catch state fish," said Sullivan.  "We have to abide by the federal law or the stricter of the two laws."

NOAA has recently released data saying that the snapper population was over-fished this year, official's and fisherman at the captain Anderson marina say it doesn't match up.

"It would be a problem if the fish were not out there, because we would want the fisheries to be rebuilt as well. We are in the business and we want to sustain the business, but we know that the fish are there and we just want everyone to be able to get out there and fish if they want."

While they wait for the news, boaters say it's hard to continue business as usual.

"Here we are 24 days out and we still don't know if are going to get to catch snapper, so it's very hard to book trips and to get people to come down... we'll see."

NOAA fisheries is still deliberating whether or not to open up the federal waters. They are expected to release that decision by sometime next week.