NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on federal offer to reopen recreational season for red snapper in Gulf of Mexico (all times local):
Louisiana officials have voted to accept a federal offer that would reopen a red snapper season for recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico’s federal waters.
The federal season will reopen for the next 12 weekends if Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida all agree to close state recreational seasons in the Gulf on weekdays, at least through Labor Day.
At issue is how to ensure full recovery of the once disastrously depleted red snapper population while giving everyone a chance at the catch.
A Louisiana commission voted 5-0 for the proposal Monday.
Texas has three public hearings along its coast Monday night. Alabama officials asked for public comment in a Facebook posting Friday, the same day that Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held a conference call to gauge public comment.
As officials seek full recovery of the once disastrously depleted red snapper population in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf states are considering a proposed compromise on a contentious three-day federal red snapper season for recreational anglers.
Louisiana and Alabama officials say the Commerce Department has told them that if the Gulf states close state waters to recreational redfish anglers on weekdays at least through Sept. 4, a weekends-only federal season could start as early as June 17.
As federal officials have cut the recreational season in federal waters, Gulf states have set much longer seasons within their offshore boundaries.
But federal officials say recreational anglers have regularly exceeded their quota.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meets Monday to consider the proposal. Alabama officials are seeking public comment.