Following an updated population assessment that shows overfishing of Gulf of Mexico red snapper has ended and the population is rebounding, NOAA is increasing the 2012 commercial and recreational fishing catch limits for the species from 7.53 million pounds to 8.08 million pounds. The new rule took effect June 1.
“Fishermen should continue to see bigger fish and larger catches as the population rebounds,” said Sam Rauch, NOAA’s acting assistant administrator for fisheries. “I commend the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and fishermen for their hard work and dedication, as red snapper truly is our most challenging fishery to manage in the Gulf.”
However, as the population of red snapper grows and the fish get bigger, recreational fishermen catch their quota faster, resulting in a shorter season. The 2012 recreational season will last 40 days, from June 1 through July 10. Although this is shorter than the 48-day season in 2011, this year’s recreational season would have been even shorter without the new catch increase.