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New law opens Red Snapper harvest in SC waters

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From staff reports

A new law will once again allow anglers along the South Carolina coast to take advantage of the Red Snapper they encounter.

The S.C. General Assembly recently passed legislation – introduced as S.980 by Senators Chip Campsen and Stephen Goldfinch) that allows for year-round harvest of up to two red snapper per person per day with a minimum size of 20 inches total length in state waters.

The creel and size limits mirror those found in neighboring Georgia and Florida (Atlantic) state waters. The new regulations took effect recently upon signature by Gov. Henry McMaster.

Access to red snapper in federal and state waters has been limited in recent years. The species declined in southeastern waters over the last half century, and in 2010, federal officials closed the fishery to allow the overfished population to rebuild.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) surveys show that while the population of red snapper off South Carolina is increasing, most fish skew young; a sign that the population is still in the process of rebuilding.

Red snapper are especially susceptible to barotrauma, a condition that occurs when fish are brought to the surface from deep water and their internal gases expand. To counteract barotrauma and ensure more released fish survive, anglers fishing for or possessing red snapper and other “snapper/grouper” species are required to have a descending device on board.

Possession of red snapper in federal waters is still prohibited outside of the occasional mini-season. NOAA Fisheries recently announced that recreational red snapper season in federal waters will next open on July 8-9. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3t3Hjji.

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