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Commercial and Recreational Closure of Blackfin Snapper, Queen Snapper, Silk Snapper, and Wenchman in Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters

September 15, 2021

FB21-061: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin; For more information, contact: Kelli O’Donnell, (727) 824-5305,


  • Commercial and recreational harvest of mid-water snapper in Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) federal waters will close at 12:01 am, local time, on September 18, 2021.
  • The mid-water snapper complex consists of blackfin snapper, queen snapper, silk snapper and wenchmen.
  • Commercial and recreational harvest will reopen January 1, 2022.


Why This Closure is Happening:

  • The 2021 mid-water snapper complex annual catch limit is 166,000 pounds whole weight.
  • Based on preliminary landings, the 2021 mid-water snapper recreational and commercial annual limit set by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has been met.
  • In accordance with the regulations, NOAA Fisheries must close harvest when the annual catch limit has been or is projected to be met following a year when the annual catch limit was exceeded.  Landings exceeded the annual catch limit in 2020.  This closure is needed to prevent overfishing of mid-water snapper (annual catch rate is too high).


During the Closure:

  • During the commercial and recreational closure, the bag and possession limits are zero for mid-water snapper in or from federal waters of the Gulf.
  • The prohibition on possession of Gulf mid-water snapper also applies in Gulf state waters for a vessel issued a valid federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish.
    Sign Up For Text Message Alerts - Find Out About Openings and Closures

NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.


Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly


Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777 Join us every other Friday on NOAA Fish Instagram for Rec Fish Friday! 


Other contacts:

Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707

            Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on September 15, 2021