WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today issued the following statement in response to new research that found 110 million red snapper in a population assessment from the Great Red Snapper Count. In 2018, the most recent estimate from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the population assessment was about 36 million.
“This study shows that there is three times more red snapper in the Gulf than previously thought. This new information should translate into greater access and longer fishing seasons for families,” said Dr. Cassidy.
Specifically, the report estimates that there are 48 million adult red snapper off the Florida coast, 29 million off Louisiana, 23 million off Texas, and 10 million off Mississippi and Alabama.
The Great Red Snapper Count is a Sea Grant-funded research team led by Greg Stunz, Ph.D. of the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi along with 80 other researchers. In releasing the report, HRI said this “absolute abundance estimate may potentially change the way the Gulf of Mexico fishery is assessed by federal and state officials.”
Last Congress, the President signed Dr. Cassidy’s Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices (DESCEND) Act. The bill will improve the health of reef fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries has not yet announced the 2021 private recreational red snapper season. The 2020 Louisiana red snapper season for private recreational anglers ran every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from May 22 until the state’s quota was met. A 63-day red snapper charter for-hire season was announced by NOAA Fisheries on Tuesday. The season will run from June 1, 2021 to August 3, 2021 for federally permitted for-hire vessels.