TPWD’s New Catch Reporting System for Red Snapper to Take Effect June 1, 2014

Zachary Olsen
TPWD’s New Catch Reporting System for Red Snapper to Take Effect June 1, 2014
Beginning June 1, 2014, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is asking that red snapper anglers (with the exception of head boats defined as larger boats where people pay per person or 'head') log onto the TPWD website upon return from a fishing trip and report the number of red snapper landed from both state and federal waters in addition to information such as date of fishing trip, number of anglers, and boat registration number (TX #). Only one angler per trip will need to report these numbers for the entire party. TPWD staff will continue to validate this data and collect additional information in the field with creel surveys and in-person interviews; however, accurately reporting catch data online is incredibly important to assure that landings estimates are complete and accurate.

To report your catch, please log onto the following website:

Texas and the other four Gulf states manage red snapper in federal waters cooperatively with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). One of the key pieces of information in the management of the red snapper fishery is the total recreational harvest, that is, how many red snapper are landed by recreational anglers in a given year. While TPWD currently performs routine creel surveys to monitor the landings and fishing effort for a variety of species along the Texas coast (you may have participated in one of these creel surveys at your local boat launch or pier), TPWD is attempting to better estimate recreational red snapper landings in the state. Most recently, the shortened red snapper season in federal waters has made it difficult for state fisheries scientists to estimate recreational landings of red snapper and so TPWD has created a pilot study using a new web-based, self-reporting system for this species. TPWD will use the self-reported citizen-science information combined with information from creel surveys in an attempt to more accurately count the number of red snapper landed from federal and state waters off of Texas.

The importance of having accurate red snapper landings data lies not only in its usefulness in assuring a healthy fishery, but also in assuring that an appropriate proportion of the red snapper quota is allotted to the states if any regional management scenario ever comes to pass. The season for red snapper in federal waters is set by NMFS. Based on fish abundance data collected by both state and federal agencies, NMFS scientists determine a quota or total poundage of red snapper that can be harvested for the Gulf of Mexico and set the federal red snapper season based on historical landings. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we better understand how many red snapper are being landed off the Texas coast.

The red snapper fishery is currently open year round in Texas state waters (<9 nautical miles). However, in recent years, the season in federal waters (>9 nautical miles) has been much shorter and bag and size limits much more strict. Before you head out to federal waters, be sure to check the most recent season and regulations at and please remember to report all your catch (from both state and federal waters) to TPWD online. With this information, we can assure sustainable management of the red snapper fishery and the opportunity for future generations to enjoy this valuable resource. Be safe and good luck!

If you have further questions regarding red snapper management and/or the reporting program, contact the TPWD Coastal Fisheries office at (512) 389-2011.