NOAA Fisheries Service announced that the closure date for the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season is being extended six days. The new closure time is 12:01 a.m. local time, July 17, 2012.
Landings and effort data are not available during the season to estimate if the recreational red snapper quota will be met on July 10. However, the north-central Gulf of Mexico has experienced extended severe weather during the first 26 days of the 2012 recreational red snapper fishing season, including Tropical Storm Debby. A substantial portion of recreational red snapper harvest in the Gulf of Mexico comes from the north-central Gulf of Mexico, thus NOAA Fisheries Service expects fishing effort and landings have been less than initially projected.
Wind speed and wave height 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. Wave height was the most consistent difference between 2011 and 2012. Days with wave heights greater than 4
feet was used as the proxy to indicate fishing days lost. Weather was not as much of a factor in the western Gulf of Mexico, and this was considered in the calculations as well.
Assuming weather in the eastern Gulf of Mexico will improve, and fishing effort returns to expected rates, NOAA Fisheries Service projects the recreational fishing season for the entire Gulf of Mexico can be extended an additional six days.