Officials extend recreational red snapper season

The Federal red snapper season has been re-opened and starts Thursday, ending on Labor Day.
The Federal red snapper season has been re-opened and starts Thursday, ending on Labor Day. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

The federal recreational red snapper season has been extended, the Department of Commerce announced Wednesday.

The recreational season in both federal and state waters begins Thursday and concludes on Labor Day. Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, as well as July 3 and Fourth of July, are also included in the 39-day season.

“Our fishermen have suffered from an unfair unreasonably shrinking snapper season for the past decade, and this year’s season was almost non-existent,” U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo said in a release. “I’m thankful that the new administration is willing to work with us to provide this emergency relief for our fishermen.’’

Coast anglers were upset at the NOAA’s original three-day federal season from May 26-29.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the five Gulf states agreed to align the state and federal seasons this week.

“Negotiations with the Department of Commerce for an extended federal season for recreational anglers came as a result of an intervention by Congressman Steven Palazzo and members of Congress,” state Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Jamie Miller said. “I believe this decision shows our willingness to negotiate in good faith with our federal and state partners to give our Mississippi anglers the most opportunities to fish for Red Snapper.”

The change does not affect the commercial season or the recreational for-hire season.

Recreational anglers still are required to participate in DMR’s reporting program for red snapper called Tails n’ Scales. It is available through a smartphone app, a website and a call center. The app is available in iTunes and Google Play. The website is tailsnscales.org. Fishermen also can call 1-844-MSSNAPP (677-6277) to speak to a representative 24 hours a day.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones