In a special meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council today in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Council voted to increase the 2013 red snapper total quota from 8.46 million pounds (mp) to 11 mp. This means a 2013 commercial quota of 5.610 mp and a recreational quota of 5.390 mp.
The 11 mp quota is the highest catch level the Council could set without having to possibly decrease the quota in subsequent years.
The Council also agreed that, if NMFS determines that unused recreational quota is available, a supplemental season will open October 1 and run continuously until the quota is met. Preliminary estimates indicate that the supplemental season will be approximately 21 days long. However, this estimate will be reevaluated when the June recreational landings data become available in mid-August. Commercial fishermen who are IFQ shareholders will get the additional allocation upon implementation of the increase.
The Framework Action will be submitted to the Secretary of Commerce and, if approved, will be implemented in time for the fall season.