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Red Snapper Meeting Jan. 15 in Corpus Christi

Jamison Wyatt of New Braunfels proudly holds up a 33-pound red snapper he caught in federal waters off the Gulf Coast. Snapper were not in season when this one took the bait in January 2014, so once he captured his digital trophy, he returned it to the sea. Courtesy photo

For those wanting to have a say in the length of red snapper season each summer, you can either attend an upcoming meeting in Corpus Christi, participate in an online webinar, or submit written comments to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

The Corpus Christi meeting is 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Omni Hotel Corpus Christi, 900 North Shoreline Blvd.

A series of 10 meetings in Gulf Coast states began in December. The final six meetings will be held in January, including the Jan. 17 webinar set for 5-8 p.m.

The council is seeking public input on “Draft Amendment 50 — State Management of Recreational Red Snapper,” which is a proposal to give Gulf states the flexibility to set the recreational red snapper fishing season.

Written public comments may be submitted at or by email at Deadline for written comments is on or before 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. The website contains links to the proposed amendment.

Red snapper season is set for an ever-changing length of time in June each year. It begins on June 1, its length determined by the number of fish harvested the year before. Season lengths have been set by the National Marine Fisheries Services and are based on projected fish populations.

Seasons have been as short as three-days (two years ago) and as long as 82 days (last year). Controversy over who has control led the fisheries service to explore putting the decision in the hands of the five Gulf Coast States: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

In Texas, anglers are allowed to fish for red snapper all year long in state waters. Federal regulations take over 9 nautical miles from shore and extend for 200 miles into the Gulf. The bigger, more sporting red snapper can be found far from shore, making federal waters a favorite of fishermen.

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