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NOAA Fisheries is Implementing Interim Measures for Red Snapper, and Announcing the 2024 Red Snapper Fishing Seasons in South Atlantic Federal Waters

June 11, 2024

FB24-040: South Atlantic Fishery Bulletin; For more information, contact: Sustainable Fisheries Division, 727-824-5305

Key Message:

  • NOAA Fisheries is reducing the red snapper annual catch limits in 2024 through a temporary rule to implement interim measures.
  • The purpose is to reduce overfishing of red snapper.
  • The commercial sector will open on July 8, 2024, and the recreational sector will open for one day on July 12, 2024.



Interim Rule:
  • The most recent stock assessment concluded that the population of South Atlantic red snapper is recovering, but remains overfished and that too many red snapper are being caught and discarded dead.
  • Therefore, NOAA Fisheries  has determined that interim measures to reduce overfishing are necessary for the 2024 fishing year while more permanent measures to end overfishing of red snapper are being considered.
  • The temporary rule reduces the total, commercial, and recreational catch limits for red snapper in South Atlantic federal waters for 2024.  For 2024, the total catch limit is reduced from 42,510 to 31,000 fish.  The commercial catch limit is reduced from 124,815 (lbs) whole weight (ww) to 85,268 lbs ww, and the recreational catch limit is reduced from 29,656 fish to 21,167 fish.


Announcement of the 2024 Red Snapper Fishing Season:
  • Each year, NOAA Fisheries announces the season opening dates for red snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic, in addition to the recreational season length.  For the 2024 season:
    • The commercial sector will open for harvest at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 8, 2024, and will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2025, unless the commercial catch limit is met or projected to be met before this date. 
    • The recreational sector will open for harvest on the following day:
      • July 12, 2024 (Friday) – The recreational season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 12, 2024, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 13, 2024.   
      • This date is subject to change if NOAA Fisheries determines a Small Craft Advisory will exist or is projected to exist.  Any change in the date of the  recreational season will be announced in the Federal Register, Fishery Bulletin, and an announcement via NOAA Weather Radio.
  • The red snapper recreational season was determined using data from the South Atlantic state-specific red snapper surveys, Southeast Region Headboat Survey, and Marine Recreational Information Program.
  • During the limited open seasons, the commercial trip limit is 75 lbs gutted weight and the recreational bag limit is 1 fish per person.
  • Currently, the Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office can modify the opening and closing dates of the commercial and recreational seasons if hurricane or tropical storm conditions exist or are predicted to exist.  The temporary rule expands the Regional Administrator’s authority to make changes to the one-day recreational season if a Small Craft Advisory exists, or is projected to exist. 


What is NOAA Fisheries announcing today?

  • NOAA Fisheries is implementing temporary regulations to reduce the 2024 catch limits of South Atlantic red snapper. 
  • The rule announces that the recreational season will be open for one day on July 12, 2024.
  • The rule announces that the commercial season will begin on July 8, 2024.  The commercial season will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2025, or when NOAA Fisheries projects that the commercial catch limit has been met, whichever occurs first.


Why is NOAA Fisheries implementing this temporary rule?

  • The results of the most recent stock assessment indicated that the South Atlantic red snapper stock remains overfished and is experiencing overfishing, and the overfishing is being primarily driven by high numbers of dead discards in the recreational sector.
  • NOAA Fisheries is reducing catch limits to reduce harvest and reduce overfishing in 2024.  A rebuilding plan for red snapper is currently in place.
  • The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has failed to take action to end the overfishing of red snapper, and has also failed to develop catch limits for red snapper that do not exceed the recommendations of its Scientific and Statistical Committee, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • The Council developed Regulatory Amendment 35 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and it would have reduced the catch levels of red snapper.  However, the Council rescinded its final action to submit the regulatory amendment to NOAA Fisheries for implementation and no regulations are in place to end overfishing in 2024.
  • In July 2021, NOAA Fisheries sent a letter to the Council stating that red snapper were overfished, and that a plan to end overfishing of the red snapper stock needed to be developed and implemented.


What is the weather-related provision in the temporary rule for the recreational sector?

  • The provision in the temporary rule provides the Regional Administrator with greater flexibility to change the opening dates for the recreational red snapper season in the case of a Small Craft Advisory or worse weather.
  • In the past, the U.S. Coast Guard and recreational fishermen have expressed concerns for safety-at-sea during short, derby-style fishing seasons.
  • This provision is intended to reduce the likelihood that recreational fishermen will fish during adverse weather conditions.
  • This provision does not automatically mean that the recreational season dates would change if these conditions were to exist, or were projected to exist, in the South Atlantic.


Where can I find more information on the Red Snapper Interim Measures?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office


By Mail: Mary Vara

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


Sign Up for Text Message Alerts - Find Out About Immediate 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


Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office

Permits Mailbox: The Permits Office in St. Petersburg, FL 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 

Recreational Fishing Coordinator: Sean Meehan, 727-385-5202 

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on June 11, 2024