Short Red Snapper Season to Help Maintain Population
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – A short red snapper season on federal waters has some local fishermen upset.
Beginning Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will open the season for only three days. Their reason is to help maintain the population of the fish.
It’s a move which caught many by surprise.
“Yeah, quite a few are very upset matter of fact. There’s people who’ve been fishing for 10 to 15 years and they are just selling their boats,” charter fisherman Patrick Murphy said.
“The way it looks, those three days, June 1, 2 and 3, are looking pretty rough with storms out in the Gulf right now,” Michael Walker, a fellow charter fisherman, said.
Starting June 1, NOAA will open the red snapper season in federal waters. It’s the shortest season it’s ever been.
“This year, it’s a three-day season and it opens up tomorrow and they’re minimum size limit is 16-inch total length and two fish per person,” Texas Parks and Wildlife natural resource specialist Jason Ferguson said.
Their goal is to try and maintain the population. The announcement does not include state waters.
If someone is looking to catch the fish in state water, the season is all-year round. But people can only catch four fish per person.
State waters in Texas extends a little over 10 miles off the coast.
“There’s a lot of water there but not enough,” Walker said.
Charter fishermen can get a special permit through NOAA which allows people to fish the popular catch for an extra 49 days. But it does cost more than just money.
“We can’t not fish in state waters cause we have to abide by federal rule as long as our boat holds the permit,” Walker said.
He said unless the state and the federal government work together, they will continue to see short seasons like the one for federal waters.
The season begins in federal waters June 1 and ends June 3 at midnight.
Officials urge people to log their catches using the app called I-Snapper. It’s free to download and will help agencies track how many snappers will be caught this season.
This will also give them an idea for what the season will be next year.