Recreational Fishing

NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Region -- Texas to North Carolina and the U.S. Caribbean -- is home to the largest concentration of saltwater recreational fishing activity in the United States. The recreational fishing sector includes for-hire (both charter and headboat) fishermen as well as private anglers. The economic, social, and ecological impacts of recreational fishing are an important consideration in federal fishery conservation and management efforts.

As part of a larger national initiative to better engage saltwater anglers, the Southeast Region focuses on issues of importance to recreational fishing community. The Region encourages recreational fishing participants to become more organized, active, and well represented in fishery management decision- making.

Southeast Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Action Agenda

In November 2011, the Southeast Region developed a Saltwater Recreational Fishing Action Agenda to complement the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Action Agenda. Both action agendas will be updated periodically through coordination with recreational stakeholders.

The current goals in the Action Agenda are to:

  • Improve recreational fishing opportunities;
  • Improve recreational catch, effort, and abundance data;
  • Improve social and economic data on recreational fisheries;
  • Foster communication with recreational fishermen; and,
  • Promote understanding of the fisheries management process.

In addition, the Southeast Region supports conservation efforts, including reducing the impact of marine recreational fishing on protected species and marine habitat and by providing public outreach and education on marine conservation.

Recreational Red Snapper Management

Although red snapper are recovering quickly in the Gulf of Mexico, the recreational fishing season keeps getting shorter. The 2013 federal season is projected to be the shortest ever at only 28 days and could be even shorter off those Gulf States that implement less restrictive regulations in their waters. Many fishermen are frustrated with the increasingly restrictive management regime and the lack of cooperation between state and federal governments. NOAA Fisheries recognizes new and innovative solutions are needed to manage the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper fishery. The following is intended to provide a historical overview of the red snapper fishery - looking back at where we've been, how we have arrived at where we are at today, and ways we can move forward to continue rebuilding this important fishery in the future. Read more…

The NOAA Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, is responsible for managing commercial and recreational fisheries in the southeastern United States and U.S. Caribbean. The following links provide a summary of fishing seasons, quotas, annual catch limits, and closures for Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and U.S. Caribbean commercial and recreational fisheries.

Gulf of Mexico South Atlantic Puerto Rico & U.S.
Virgin Islands

Southeast Region Recreational Fishing Coordinators

Questions? Call or email us:

Kimberly Amendola
Southeast Regional Office
(727) 551-5707

Kenneth Brennan
Southeast Fisheries Science Center
(252) 728-8618

Jessica Beck
Southeast Region Aquaculture Coordinator
(727) 551-5755

Did you know...


  • In 2011, over 3 million recreational anglers took 23 million trips in the Gulf and over 2.3 million recreational anglers took 18 million trips in the South Atlantic
  • In 2011, the Southeast Region's recreational sector generated sales impacts of $15.27 billion.
  • In 2011, the Southeast Region's recreational sector supported 142,000 jobs.

more economic information


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Law Enforcement Resources

Report a Violation

To report a violation call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at

1-800-853-1964

NOAA Office of Law Enforcement

Questions?  Visit our website at

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ole/