Red snapper season in federal waters extended to weekends through Labor Day

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — What was originally just a three day season for red snapper in federal waters has been extended after negotiations between federal regulators and gulf states.

Gulf state officials praised the decision to reopen the federal season off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida for three-day weekends through Labor Day, plus three holidays.

The original three day season for 2017 for private anglers in federal waters was widely criticized as too restrictive. Federal regulators claimed the red snapper population has been over fished in recent years, something many anglers dispute.

Here's what you need to know about the extended season.

--Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting Saturday June 17 (this may start on Friday June 16. We're waiting on the official word from state and federal officials about the start date.)
--Also includes Monday and Tuesday of 4th of July weekend as well as Labor Day.

The trade off is there will be fewer days to fish for red snapper for private anglers in state waters (shore to nine miles out.)

However, an environmental group and a charter captains' association estimate that anglers will take nearly triple their allocated quota of the sport and panfish under the plan, potentially canceling next year's recreational season entirely.