FWC approves draft for changes to 2020 red snapper season

Tony Mixon
Roger Dover, a deckhand on the Capt. Anderson IV, passes down freshly caught red snapper at Capt. Anderson's Marina on Saturday June 1, 2019. [JOSHUA BOUCHER/THE NEWS HERALD]

PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission approved draft proposals on Thursday to extend red snapper season and its authority to manage it.

Regarding the 2020 red snapper season, the commissioners were presented two options; June 11-July 25 and June 1-July 13.

In 2019, the Gulf red snapper season ran from June 1 to July 12.

The staff recommended the June 11-July 25 option because it will be a low risk of exceeding Florida’s quota for 2020, which is 1,913,451 lbs. That is slightly higher than 2018 and 2019 quotas.

“There’s a lot of varying opinions on what people want,” Amanda Nalley of Marine Fisheries Management said. “Some people want weekends only seasons, some people want seasons that start earlier, and we consider all of that.”

The FWC is looking for a happy medium that allows for a long season and still have the potential for a fall season. The FWC would consider reopening of the fall season as long as the harvest remains below quota during the 45-day continuous season.

Besides extending the red snapper season, the draft proposal included an extended authority of the waters for Gulf red snappers.

“This is kind of a new thing where the state is managing Gulf red snapper in both state and federal waters,” Nalley said. “That authority has been given over to us to manage it in state and federal waters for those who are fishing from private recreational vessels and those who are fishing in state waters as charter captains.”

The draft will be brought in February for a final approval in Tallahassee. If the public wishes to leave comments until then, can visit myFWC.com/saltwatercomments.