Commercial and Recreational Closure of Blackfin Snapper, Queen Snapper, Silk Snapper, and Wenchman in Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters

Commercial and recreational harvest of mid-water snapper in Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) federal waters will close at 12:01 am, local time, on September 18, 2021.

The mid-water snapper complex consists of blackfin snapper, queen snapper, silk snapper and wenchmen.

Commercial and recreational harvest will reopen January 1, 2022.

Why This Closure is Happening:

  • The 2021 mid-water snapper complex annual catch limit is 166,000 pounds whole weight.
  • Based on preliminary landings, the 2021 mid-water snapper recreational and commercial annual limit set by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has been met.
  • In accordance with the regulations, NOAA Fisheries must close harvest when the annual catch limit has been or is projected to be met following a year when the annual catch limit was exceeded.  Landings exceeded the annual catch limit in 2020.  This closure is needed to prevent overfishing of mid-water snapper (annual catch rate is too high).

During the Closure:

  • During the commercial and recreational closure, the bag and possession limits are zero for mid-water snapper in or from federal waters of the Gulf.
  • The prohibition on possession of Gulf mid-water snapper also applies in Gulf state waters for a vessel issued a valid federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish.