NOAA announces 2019 red snapper seasons

NOAA has announced the 2019 open seasons for red snapper in Atlantic waters.

Recreational season will last 5 days total

On March 4, NOAA issued a press release announcing recreational and commercial seasons for red snapper in South Atlantic Federal Waters for 2019. This includes waters within the federal 200-mile limit off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the east coast of Florida.

The recreational sector will have two short seasons in 2019. Both of these will take place in July. The commercial sector will have one season which may be shortened based on the commercial annual catch limit.

Recreational anglers will have a total of five days to catch red snapper. This is one day shorter than the 2018 recreational season. The dates for the first season this year are July 12, 13, and 14. The second season will take place on July 19 and 20. The recreational annual catch limit will be 29,656 fish.

The bag limit for recreational anglers will be one red snapper per person, per day, with no minimum or maximum size restrictions. This limit applies to private boats as well as charter fishing boats. Charter captains and crew members will also be allowed to keep one red snapper per day.

The season was shortened by a day this year because during last year’s six-day season, the catch limit was exceeded. Based on the number of red snapper caught last year, NOAA believes the limit will be reached in five days of fishing.

Commercial anglers can begin harvesting red snapper on July 8. Their season will remain open until Jan. 1, 2020, unless their annual limit of 124,815 pounds (approximately 12,854 fish) is reached before that date. Their per-trip limit per boat will equal 75 pounds gutted weight.

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Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at