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Final Rule to Increase Red Snapper Catch Limits in the Gulf of Mexico

June 08, 2023

FB23-035: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact: Daniel Luers; (727) 824-5305, Daniel.Luers@noaa.gov

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries is announcing a final rule to increase red snapper catch limits in the Gulf of Mexico.  


When Rule Will Take Effect:

This final rule will take effect on July 10, 2023.


Summary Of Changes:

  • As shown in Table 1, this rule increases the red snapper:
    • total annual catch limit (ACL) from 15,400,000 pounds (lb) whole weight (ww) implemented in the recent framework adjustment under the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (January 1, 2023) to 16,310,000 lb ww;
    • commercial ACL from 7,854,000 lb ww to 8,318,100 lb ww;
    • recreational ACL from 7,546,000 lb to 7,991,900 lb ww;
    • Federal For-Hire ACL from 3,191,958 lb ww to 3,380,574 lb ww;
    • Federal For-Hire annual catch target (ACT) from 2,904,682 lb ww to 3,076,322 lb ww;
    • Private Angling ACL from 4,354,042 lb ww to 4,611,326 lb ww;
    • Private Angling ACT from 3,483,234 lb ww to 3,689,061 lb ww; and
    • State Private Angling ACLs.

Table 1.  Current (implemented January 1, 2023) and new catch limits for Gulf red snapper.  All catch limits are in lb ww. 

Catch Limit Type

Current Catch Limits

New Catch Limits

(Overfishing Limit) OFL



(Acceptable Biological Catch) ABC



Total ACL



Commercial ACL



Recreational ACL



Federal For-Hire ACL



Federal For-Hire ACT



Private Angling ACL



State Private Angling ACLs*



Florida ACL



Alabama ACL



Mississippi ACL



Louisiana ACL



Texas ACL



*All State Private Angling ACLs are in the units in which each state monitors landings.


FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 88 FR 37475, published June 8, 2023.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are the catch limits for red snapper being increased?

  • On January 1, 2023, a final rule implemented a framework action that increased red snapper catch limits based on the results of the Great Red Snapper Count and the NOAA Fisheries bottom longline survey, and subsequent Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) and Council Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) recommendations.
    • The framework action specified an OFL of 25,600,000 lb ww based on SSC recommendations and results of the Great Red Snapper Count, which indicated that red snapper biomass in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) was approximately three times what had been estimated previously.
    • The ABC in the framework action was set at 15,400,000 lb ww based on recommendations from SSC and results from the NOAA Fisheries bottom longline index that, in contrast to the Great Red Snapper Count, did not indicate large increases in red snapper abundance.  The Council and SSC recommended a smaller increase in the ABC to manage the red snapper resource more conservatively due to conflicting results of the indices.
    • The final rule for the framework action specified ACLs based on the ABC recommendations of the Council’s SSC (Table 1).
  • After making recommendations to implement these increases in the red snapper catch limits, the Council and the SSC received updated information that revised their abundance estimate of the Gulf red snapper stock.  This updated information included:
    • A revised estimate of red snapper abundance in waters adjacent to Louisiana that was considered by the SSC to be more indicative of abundance in that area than the Great Red Snapper Count, and
    • a post-stratified re-analysis of Great Red Snapper Count data for Florida using different depth bins than what were originally used in the Great Red Snapper Count.
  • The updated information for Florida and Louisiana was used in concert with the Great Red Snapper Count data for Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas to obtain a revised estimate of red snapper abundance of 85.6 million fish.
  • The SSC determined that the updated information was suitable for providing catch advice.  Because red snapper (over the age of 2) abundance was reduced from 118 million fish to 85.6 million fish, the SSC recommended decreasing the OFL from 25,600,000 lb ww to 18,910,000 lb ww
  • Also based on the revised estimate, the SSC recommended that the ABC be increased from 15,400,000 lb ww to 16,310,000 lb ww based on the 5-year average from the Council’s harvest control rule. 
  • The SSC recommended an increase in the ABC because the decrease in the scientific uncertainty in the new abundance estimates allowed for a smaller buffer between the OFL and ABC. 
  • The Council recommended the stock ACL be set equal to the ABC, which resulted in the sector and component catch limits in this rule based on established allocations.


Where can I find more information on the Red Snapper Catch Limits Framework?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

     By Mail: Daniel Luers

     NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

     Sustainable Fisheries Division

     263 13th Avenue South

     St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

     By FAX: (727) 824-5308

     By Phone: (727) 824-5305


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:

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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


Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office

Permits Mailbox: The Permits Office in St. Petersburg, Florida now has a Permits mailbox in the front lobby (263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701).  You can now drop off original permits for permit transfers.  Envelopes with information labels will be provided so that your documents can be attached to the correct application.  The mailbox will be checked daily.  For more information, contact the Permits Office at 877-376-4877.

Other contacts:

Media: Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on June 08, 2023