NOAA Fisheries hasn’t decided yet whether to open another red snapper mini-season this summer in the South Atlantic like it did last year.
But the agency is accepting public comment through May 29 on Amendment 28, which establishes a process for determining whether there will be one. NOAA proposes to develop an equation to determine the annual catch limit for both the commercial and recreational sectors if fishing is allowed. But first it plans to establish whether last summer’s mini-season resulted in too many landings and dead discards.
If calculations show the acceptable biological catch was not exceeded, then both a recreational and commercial harvest season would be allowed. If there is to be a recreational season, it would open July 12 and be Friday-Saturday-Sunday only until the closing date — which would be announced prior to the opening. Anglers would be allowed to take one fish per person per day, with no minimum size.
The commercial season would open July 8 and end when the annual catch limit is met. A commercial trip limit of 75 pounds (gutted weight) would be set, with no minimum size. To comment on the proposed rule, go to regulations.gov.
• NOAA Fisheries has extended provisions of a temporary rule for 186 days to head off a sudden closure of the commercial yellowtail snapper harvest in the South Atlantic. Effective Monday, the annual catch limit will rise from about 1.1 million pounds to nearly 1.6 million pounds. The agency said a recent stock assessment shows yellowtail are in good shape and there is no peril of overfishing. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has submitted a rule amendment which would make the increased catch limit permanent for NOAA to review.
• The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it has more than 5,000 permits available for the annual public alligator hunt that runs from Aug. 15 through Nov. 1. Hunters may apply online or at any tax collector’s office and some sporting goods stores. An alligator trapping license and two hide validation tags total $272 for Florida residents.
• Four well-known Islamorada charterboat captains based at Bud n’ Mary’s Fishing Marina are the stars of a new reality show debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the Weather Channel. Reel Rivals features captain Nick Stanczyk, his uncle, captain Scott Stanczyk, and captains George McElveen and Augie Wampler all trying to out-fish one another.