Rodeo ready as regulators aim to reopen snapper season in October

Red Snapper

Red Snapper season is open through July 14.

File photo
Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 at 05:17 PM.

No trick, just treat — red snapper will likely be back on the catch list in October.

In a special meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in New Orleans earlier this week, the council voted to increase the 2013 red snapper total quota from 8.46 million pounds to 11 million pounds. The council also agreed that if the National Marine Fisheries Services determines that the unused recreational quota is available, a supplemental season will open Oct. 1 and run continuously until the quota is met.

The supplemental season will be approximately 21 days long, according to a news release from the Gulf Council. Local anglers, fishing in federal waters, had the shortest red snapper season ever this year at 28 days in June.

When word of the extended season for red snapper in October hit the streets, the Destin Fishing Rodeo board voted unanimously Thursday evening to add the area’s signature fish as a category and put it on the leaderboard for the October fishing tournament.

"It couldn't have come at a better time," said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo. "We're excited."

The board agreed to add a red snapper category with a first and second place in all five boat divisions: charter boat, private boat, party boat, charter boats under 25, and private boats under 25. There will also be a red snapper daily award.

With the addition of red snapper, the rodeo is looking at an extra $2,000 worth of sponsorship, said John Brashears, rodeo chairman. However, the board was confident that they would be able to secure the extra dollars to foot the bill for the division. Donaldson said she has already had a few people step up to sponsor about half of the divisions, but more is needed.

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