Commercial and Recreational Closure of Mid-water Snapper in Federal Waters


fishing rods on a boat
  • Commercial and recreational harvest of mid-water snapper in Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) federal waters will close at 12:01 am, local time, on September 18, 2021.
  • The mid-water snapper complex consists of blackfin snapper, queen snapper, silk snapper and wenchmen.
  • Commercial and recreational harvest will reopen January 1, 2022.
Why This Closure is Happening:
  • The 2021 mid-water snapper complex annual catch limit is 166,000 pounds whole weight.
  • Based on preliminary landings, the 2021 mid-water snapper recreational and commercial annual limit set by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has been met.
  • In accordance with the regulations, NOAA Fisheries must close harvest when the annual catch limit has been or is projected to be met following a year when the annual catch limit was exceeded. Landings exceeded the annual catch limit in 2020. This closure is needed to prevent overfishing of mid-water snapper (annual catch rate is too high).
During the Closure:
  • During the commercial and recreational closure, the bag and possession limits are zero for mid-water snapper in or from federal waters of the Gulf.
  • The prohibition on possession of Gulf mid-water snapper also applies in Gulf state waters for a vessel issued a valid federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish