Extension of the Gulf of Mexico Recreational Red Snapper Fishing Season
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Extension of the Gulf of Mexico Recreational Red Snapper Fishing Season
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    The 2012 recreational red snapper quota was projected to be met in 40 days on July 10. Landings and effort data are not available in‐season to estimate if the quota will be met on July 10. Due to severe weather in the central and northeastern Gulf of Mexico during the first 26 days of the 2012 recreational red snapper fishing season, it is likely that fishing effort and landings are lower than projected, necessitating extension of the fishing season. Anglers and for‐hire captains lost numerous days of fishing due to high winds and waves generated by Tropical Storm Debby in late June. Poor weather conditions also persisted prior to that time in the central and northeastern Gulf. Wave heights and wind speeds have been greater in June 2012 than June 2011 for all areas of the Gulf, except Texas. This analysis evaluated how long the season could possibly be extended. Weather data from four buoys stationed throughout the Gulf of Mexico were used as proxies for determining days when fishing did not occur or when effort was reduced. It is estimated that the season could be extended by as much as 4‐8 days, depending on assumptions about trip cancellations due to weather conditions (e.g., > 15 knot winds or > 4 foot seas). Given the uncertainty in these estimates, as well as past season length projections which have resulted in annual overages of the recreational red snapper quota, it is recommended that the season length be extended no more than 6 days.
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