Commission authorizes secretary to alter recreational reef fish seasons - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Commission authorizes secretary to alter recreational reef fish seasons

A declaration of emergency regarding the 2010 recreational fishing season for red snapper and greater amberjack was issued by Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at the Jan. 7 2010 meeting, as recommended by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Existing rules have established that the recreational red snapper season in Louisiana state and Federal waters will open on June 1, and remain open until 12:01 a.m. October 1, with a recreational bag limit for red snapper of 2 fish per person per day during this open season.  Captain and crew members shall not harvest or possess red snapper while operating as charter vessels or headboats. Their bag limit is zero.

The recreational greater amberjack season in Louisiana state and adjacent Federal waters opened on January 1, with a recreational bag limit for greater amberjack of one fish per person per day.  Captain and crew members shall not harvest or possess greater amberjack while operating as charter vessels or headboats.  Their bag limit is zero.

However, the potential exists for the seasons in Federal waters to be modified if NOAA Fisheries Service estimates that harvest exceeds or has the potential to exceed the recreational quota established for each species.

Therefore, the Commission authorized the Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to close the season for the recreational harvest of red snapper or greater amberjack in Louisiana state waters if he is informed by the Regional Administrator of NMFS that the applicable recreational quota has been harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and the recreational season closed in Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and if he is requested by the Regional Administrator of NMFS that the State of Louisiana enact compatible regulations in Louisiana state waters.

The Commission also hereby grants authority to the Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to modify the recreational seasons described here in Louisiana state waters if he is informed by NMFS that the season dates for the recreational harvest of red snapper or greater amberjack in the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico have been modified, and that NMFS requests that the season be modified in Louisiana state waters.

The Commission's actions allow regulations in state waters to complement regulations of the National Marine Fisheries Service for federally managed waters.  NMFS and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council typically request consistent regulations for Louisiana waters to enhance effectiveness and enforceability of regulations.

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