NOAA Announces New GOM Red Snapper Limits, Targets & Seasons


red snapper

NOAA Fisheries approved Amendment 28 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 28) submitted by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). A final rule implementing these measures will publish in theFederal Register on April 28, 2016, with an effective date of May 31, 2016. As a result of this rule, NOAA provides notification of the 2016 private angling and federal for-hire red snapper fishing seasons.

The Council approved Amendment 28 to reallocate the red snapper harvest consistent with the 2014 red snapper update population assessment to ensure the allowable catch and recovery benefits from a rebuilding population are fairly and equitably allocated between commercial and recreational fishermen. The amendment reallocates the red snapper stock annual catch limit between the commercial and recreational sectors from 51:49 percent to 48.5:51.5 percent, respectively.

Management Measures
The final rule revises the 2016 and 2017:

  • Commercial quotas,
  • Recreational quotas and annual catch targets,
  • Sub-quotas and annual catch targets for the private angling and federally permitted for-hire components within the recreational sector.

The 2016 and 2017 quotas and annual catch targets in millions of pounds gutted weight are shown below.

Sector or component Annual catch limit Annual catch target
2016 2017 2016 2017
Commercial 6.768 6.664
Recreational 7.192 7.076 5.754 5.661
Federally permitted for-hire 3.042 2.993 2.434 2.395
Private angling 4.150 4.083 3.320 3.266

Recreational Fishing Seasons
The federal recreational seasons for the components are based on their respective annual catch targets, which are less than their respective annual catch limits. Based on the annual catch targets and accounting for the red snapper harvest in state waters outside the federal season, the federal season for the private angling component will be 9 days and the federal season for the federally permitted for-hire component will be 46 days.

The 2016 federal red snapper recreational season will open for the private angling and federally permitted for-hire components on June 1, 2016, at 12:01 a.m., local time. Closing dates are:

Private Anglers: June 10, 2016, at 12:01 a.m., local time.
Federally Permitted For-Hire Vessels: July 17, 2016, at 12:01 a.m., local time.
The federal-water red snapper bag limit is 2 fish per person per day with a 16-inch minimum total length size limit.

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

Electronic copies of the amendment, final rule, and season notification may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Web site: For more information on Amendment 28 and how the 2016 recreational season lengths were calculated, visit

This bulletin provides only a summary of the information regarding the existing regulations. Any discrepancies between this bulletin and the regulations as published in the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.

About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.