BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — The first part of Mississippi's recreational red snapper season will run from May 22 through July 12.
A midseason closure will let the Department of Marine Resources and the related commission analyze data and decide how to manage the remaining quota, officials said in a news release Wednesday.
Mississippi is allocating 151,500 pounds (68,000 kilograms) of the popular sport and table fish — about 3.5% of the total quota for private anglers in the Gulf of Mexico, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
Private anglers with the appropriate Mississippi licenses can fish in federal waters off the state's coast. Recreational charter boats with Mississippi licenses are restricted to state waters, because federal authorities still regulate for-hire boats in federal waters.
The U.S. Department of Commerce said Wednesday it was making a two-year experiment permanent, and States on the Gulf of Mexico can keep setting seasons and bag limits for anglers going after red snapper in federal waters. The rule was to become final Thursday with publication in the Federal Register.
Mississippi said its season will close if the assigned quota for recreational fishermen or state for-hire fishermen is reached at any point after the season opens. It will also close if the Gulf-wide quota is reached.