DeSantis announces 57 Days of Gulf Red Snapper Season, longest combined season for Florida

On Thursday morning, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the 2022 Gulf Red Snapper season at Aj’s Seafood and Oyster Bar in Destin, Florida.

The 2022 Gulf Red Snapper Season will last a total of 57 days and include both summer and fall season. This will be the longest combined season that has ever been available for anglers since state management began.

The 2022 Gulf Red Snapper Summer Season will open June 17 and run consecutively through July 31st. This will include Father’s Day and July 4th weekends.

Anglers will also have the opportunity to continue the season later in the year with a Fall Gulf Red Snapper season with a 12 additional days, including Veteran’s Day weekend and Thanksgiving week.

“These additional days of fishing means that families can take advantage of the holiday weekends and have a great time off of Florida’s coast in places like Destin,” said DeSantis. “We know that they love the red snapper here in Destin and why not? It’s a great thing. This has been going on since the 1800s and we appreciate what it means to the culture of our state.”

Jennifer Adams, Okaloosa Tourism Director, discusses the importance of red snapper to our local economy at Aj’s Seafood and Oyster Bar in Destin, Florida.

“We love red snapper here in Destin-Fort Walton beach, and they love our waters mostly because we have the most active artificial reef program in the state,” said Jennifer Adams, Okaloosa Tourism Director.

This year alone, the Tourist Development Department will invest almost $3 million in growing the artificial reef network. To date, the Coastal Resource Team has created over 300 artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, along with the 8 Fish Aggregating Devices named after Captain Kelly Windes.

Gov. DeSantis (left) talks with Capt. Kelly Windes (right) at Aj’s Seafood and Oyster Bar in Destin, Florida. The FAD network is named after Capt. Windes.

“These FADs are the only buoys of their kind in the Continental United State,” added Adams. “For decades, we’ve been proud to be known as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village and as you stand here today in the Destin Harbor, you can see why we are home to the largest fleet in the nation.”

With more than 300 for-hire fishing operations, there are more than 2 million fishing trips that are taken annually in Destin-Fort Walton Beach.

In 2019, recreational saltwater fishing contributed more than $74 million to the economy with more than 830 jobs.

📸 Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Team – Destin-Fort Walton Beach

“The impact of fishing extends far beyond our docks,” added Adams. “This past year, visitors spent more than $736 million in our community, above and beyond the $33 million that we collected in tourist development taxes. That money goes directly back to our local economy of restaurant owners, charter captains, paddleboard operators, and other tourism related industries.”

Adams says that one of the most popular Little Adventures that the county has is charter fishing.

  • “Our experienced captains have taken generations of families out on the water and because our deep water is so accessible, we can get kids outside very quickly and teach them how to fish,” she added. “When kids come off the boat, holding their fish, that smile on their face is priceless.”

“This is going to be a big deal for a lot of people and I really look forward to all the anglers being able to enjoy this expanded red snapper opportunities,” said DeSantis.

Dates to save

The 45-day summer season will begin on June 17 and continue through July 31. The 12-day fall season is the longest fall season since the beginning of state management and spans the following dates:

  • October 8-9
  • October 15-16
  • October 22-23
  • November 11-13 (Veteran’s Day Weekend)
  • November 25-27 (Weekend after Thanksgiving)

If you plan to fish for red snapper in state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, even if you are exempt from fishing license requirements, you must sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal required) at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

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