Red Snapper Act introduced to prevent Northeast Florida fishing area closures

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On Thursday, Dec. 1, Florida Congressman John Rutherford, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy and 14 of their colleagues introduced H.R. 9373, the Red Snapper Act.


This bipartisan legislation looks to prevent area closures in the South Atlantic until the South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count study is complete.

It was back in August that Action News Jax’s John Bachman spoke to Rutherford about stopping NOAA from closing red snapper season in 2023.

Related Story: Rep. John Rutherford wants NOAA to ‘put the brakes’ on possibly closing red snapper season next year

Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed closures for all bottom fishing in the South Atlantic. This was an effort to decrease red snappers caught outside of the existing two-day recreational period.

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The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council ultimately rejected this proposal.

“For too long, Florida’s anglers have been forced to put up with bad science and short red snapper seasons,” said Rep. Rutherford. “Our bipartisan Red Snapper Act will stop NOAA from closing fisheries and force them to use better data. Florida anglers deserve dependable access to red snapper fishing now and for years to come.”

According to a news release by Rutherford, recreation fishing in Florida produced $9.2 billion in economic output and supported 88,501 jobs in 2020.

The South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count was approved by congress and appropriated $5.1 million over a three-year period. The belief is that this study will produce reliable data on Red Snapper populations and the overall health of the species in South Atlantic water.

Read: Wildlife officials approve manatee protections

Until this study is complete the Red Snapper Act aims to provide anglers more opportunity to fish for the species without seasonal closures.

In a statement Rep. Stephanie Murphy said,

“Fishing is not only a key part of the Florida way of life, but it is also essential for the survival of our coastal economies and the small businesses that depend on robust fishing seasons. I was proud to spearhead the Great Red Snapper Count, along with Congressman Rutherford, to get a more accurate picture of the number of fish in the South Atlantic, but proposed closures from NOAA could threaten access to bottom fishing before the study is complete. With this new legislation, we are pushing back to ensure our fisheries are not shut down and that NOAA uses the best data available moving forward.”

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You can read the full bill bellow.

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