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September Opening of Red Snapper Season in South Atlantic

US - NOAA Fisheries has announced the opening of the 2012 commercial and recreational red snapper fishing season in South Atlantic federal waters.

Based on a recommendation by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council), the commercial red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 17, 2012, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 24, 2012. During the open commercial season, the daily trip limit is 50 pounds gutted weight and there is no minimum size limit for red snapper.

The recreational fishing season will open for two consecutive weekends made up of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The recreational red snapper season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 14, 2012, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 17, 2012; the season then reopens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 21, 2012, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 24, 2012. During the open recreational season, the bag limit is one fish per person per day and there is no minimum size limit for red snapper.

The intent of this action is to provide fishermen the opportunity to harvest the red snapper 2012 annual catch limit and enhance the social and economic benefits to the fishery. The commercial and recreational annual catch limits for 2012 are 20,818 pounds gutted weight and 9,399 fish, respectively. The sector annual catch limits are based upon allocations previously decided by the South Atlantic Council.

NOAA Fisheries may change the commercial and recreational season dates if severe weather conditions exist. If severe weather conditions exist, NOAA Fisheries will announce via NOAA Weather Radio and a Fishery Bulletin any change in the red snapper fishing seasons. Additionally, NOAA Fisheries will monitor the commercial landings and may re-open the commercial fishing season in 2012 if landings are less than the annual catch limits.

After the conclusion of the commercial September 17-24, 2012, red snapper fishing season, red snapper may not be harvested or possessed in federal waters of the South Atlantic. After the conclusion of the recreational September 14-17, 2012, and September 21-24, 2012 fishing seasons, red snapper may not be harvested or possessed in federal waters of the South Atlantic.

Harvest and possession prohibitions also apply to state waters for vessels holding federal snapper-grouper permits.

Lucy Towers

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