A Comparison of Private Recreational Fishing Harvest and Effort for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper during Derby and Extended Federal Seasons and Implications for Future Management




Topping, Tara S.
Streich, Matthew K.
Fisher, Mark R.
Stunz, Gregory W.


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North American Journal of Fisheries Management



Fisheries managers often use regulations such as bag, size, and season limits to manage recreational anglers and prevent overharvest, and this has been the case for the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Lutjanus campechanus fishery, which has been highly regulated for over 20 years. During this period, the federal season for private recreational anglers has decreased from year-round in 1996 to only 3 d in 2017. However, in 2017 the private recreational season was reopened for an additional 39 d. This scenario allowed us to examine a very short, derby-style initial season with an unexpected extended season and make comparisons with longer-term data sets from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's angler-intercept program, where we hypothesized that harvest and effort may not be directly related to season length. Our data indicated that there were higher harvest and effort rates during the initial season than during the extended season, and these differences were a function of extended season length (i.e., future access) and weather. The harvest and effort rates of the extended season were not proportional to the initial season, suggesting that recreational anglers compensated for reductions in season length by compressing their effort into the shortened season. While our results suggest that an extended season results in a reduction of daily harvest and effort rates, it is important to have programs in place to closely monitor the total harvest in a timely manner to prevent overharvest.






Topping, T.S., M.K. Streich, M.R. Fisher, and G.W. Stunz. 2019. A comparison of private recreational fishing effort for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper during derby and extended seasons. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 39:1311-1320. doi:10.1002/nafm.10368.