SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just announced the dates for the federal Red Snapper season. For-hire vessels with federal permits will be able to fish for Red Snapper for 51 days beginning June 1.
The season begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 1, and runs through 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 22. Vessels with a federal permit can fish out to 200 nautical miles.
Five Gulf states, including Mississippi, set their own seasons for private recreational anglers and for-hire vessels with state permits. Mississippi's Red Snapper season begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 25, and runs through 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3, which is Labor Day, with a possible season closure from July 9-22. The mid-season closure is to ensure that Mississippi's annual quota of 137,949 pounds is not met before Labor Day and depends on the number of pounds caught before July 4.
Private recreational anglers can fish out to 200 nautical miles. Vessels with state for-hire permits are allowed to fish in state territorial waters, which is nine nautical miles.
The quota for recreational fishermen is 135,149 pounds. The state for-hire quota is 2,800 pounds. MDMR will manage each group's allotment individually. The season will close if the assigned quota for either group is reached at any point after the season opens. It also will close if the Gulf-wide quota of 6.7 million pounds is reached.
Anglers who fish for Red Snapper are required to register their trip through Tails N' Scales, MDMR's reporting program. They must create a profile and start a trip before going fishing for Red Snapper. Anglers must have a trip number when they are out on the water and must report their catch within 24 hours and close out one trip before creating a new one.
Anglers caught without an authorization number will be fined, and their fish confiscated.
Tails N' Scales is available through a smartphone app, a website and a call center. The app is available in iTunes and Google Play, and the website is tailsnscales.org. Fishermen also can call 1-844-MSSNAPP (677-6277) to speak to a representative if they don't have access to a smartphone or computer.
For questions regarding the Tails N' Scales system or to report any issues, call 228-697-5762.
Anyone using the app must download the latest update before creating a trip this year.