Red snapper days set for federal permitted boats

Tina Harbuck

The numbers are in and local charter boat captains are liking what they are hearing for the upcoming red snapper season.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council announced late last week that federally permitted vessels, which are the majority of the Destin charter boats, will have 62 days, starting June 1 to catch red snapper.

“Man, that’s awesome,” said Capt. Reid Phillips of the charter boat Rewind.

“That’s exactly what we needed … nothing to complain about here,” he said.

For the last four to five years, the federally permitted boats have received more days each year. In 2015 they had 44 days, 46 days in 2016, 49 in 2017 and 51 days last year.

“This is a true testament to how hard the guys have worked for our access to the fishery,” said Capt. Justin Destin of the Un Reel.

“They’ve devoted a lot of time and effort,” he said.

Members of the Destin Charter Boat Association have attended Marine Fishery meetings over the last several years, pleading their case. Plus by signing in and logging their catches via electronic tablets, the numbers are showing that federally permitted boats are within their total allowable catch limits, thus they are getting more days.

“I’m very excited,” said Capt. Chris Couvillion of the Sea Winder.

“I’m glad to see that our management is paying off,” he said.

Couvillion said he’ll be glad when it pays off for the private recreational guys as well.

“Better numbers make a better practice,” he said.

“I think how we’re required to do data entry on our catches will be a good blueprint for the recreational guys,” Couvillion said.

The private recreational fishermen get 32 days in state waters this year, with their season starting June 11 and going through July 12.

The limit for red snapper is two per person and the fish must measure 16 inches to keep.

“And there seems to be a gracious plenty,” Destin said.

Clcik to listen:

Fishing Report