Gulf Coast states are considering a proposal that would extend the federal red snapper season for recreational anglers, in what has been a contentious and long-running debate.
According to officials in Alabama and Louisiana, the U.S. Commerce Department has told them that if all Gulf states close their state waters to recreational snapper fishing on weekdays through at least September 4, a weekends-only federal season for red snapper could begin as early as this weekend.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposal yesterday. Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will have to approve it as well for the plan to take effect. Officials in Alabama, Texas and Florida are all seeking public comment before voting.
As federal officials have drastically cut the recreational fishing season in federal waters, individual Gulf states have all set much longer seasons within their offshore boundaries. Federal officials also say recreational anglers have regularly exceeded their quota; state officials disagree.