NOAA Announces Recreational Red Snapper Season in Federal Waters

red snapper copy
Red Snapper Illustration by Diane Rome Peebles

NOAA Fisheries has announced the recreational season for the harvest of red snapper in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will open at 12:01 a.m. June 1, 2016.  The bag and possession limit is two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length.

Last year, NOAA Fisheries, through the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council), made the decision to split the recreational red snapper quota into two distinct components – private anglers and charter vessels and headboats (for-hire).  Each component has its own quota allocations based upon NOAA’s recreational red snapper harvest estimates. Private anglers will have a 9-day federal season running through June 9th closing at 11:59 p.m., and charter vessels / headboats will have a 46-day federal season, closing July 16th at 11:59 p.m.


The “Louisiana-only” season


The season for the recreational harvest of red snapper in Louisiana state waters is currently open, will remain open during the federal season, and will continue to be open after the federal season closes.  LDWF monitors real-time red snapper harvest during 2016 through the LA Creel program.


Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

The Department reminds anglers that a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit is required in order to posses certain species, including red snapper.  Anglers may obtain or new the permit, free of charge at


The permit is required for any angler possessing tuna, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers, snappers, hinds, wahoo, cobia and dolphin, except for anglers under 16 years of age or anglers fishing on a paid-for-hire trip where the captain holds a permit.


Anglers may renew their permits up to 30 days prior to expiration.  A valid Louisiana fishing license number is required to obtain a permit.  A confirmation number is allowed for a temporary (trip) license.


The Louisiana Gulfward Boundary


The fishermen of Louisiana have the benefit of Louisiana’s reef fish management to 9 nautical miles during the state red snapper season.


LDWF reminds charter fishermen with federal reef fish permits that they are only allowed to fish these new boundary waters when the federal recreational reef fish season is open. Federal reef fish permit regulations restrict the permit holder to the most restrictive season. Please also note that red drum are not considered reef fish; therefore, there is no change to regulations impacting this species.


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