NEW ORLEANS -- Red snappers are one of the food fish that give the Louisiana coast a reputation as the seafood capital of the country.
Anglers can start hauling them into their boats in Louisiana waters beginning in late March. The move defies the Gulf Fisheries Management Council's call for red snapper season to open two months later.
Federal regulators say the season should only be open for 27 days, with only a two fish per person limit.
Harlon Pearce, a seafood processor in Kenner, serves on the council.
"We're working on different methods to help improve the snapper stock and to improve the catch that we can have in Louisiana and in the Gulf," said Pearce.
Louisiana's red snapper season will run from March through September, Friday through Sunday with four-day weekends for Memorial Day and Labor Day. Fishermen would have a three-fish per person limit.
Local anglers favor the state's defiance to federal regulations.
"Just the fact that it's Friday, Saturday, Sunday for an entire six months is just huge compared to 27 days straight through," said sport fisherman Evan Davis from Algiers.
Charter boat captains say the federal restrictions on red snapper are overly cautious.
"We think it's ridiculous," said Louisiana Charter Boat Association President Daryl Carpenter. "We've been arguing for years that the fishery stock's in better shape than they want to admit that it is."
WWL-TV fishing expert Don Dubuc said Louisiana could face some consequences for not following federal fishing guidelines.
"Anything from reducing it to an 11-day season to beefing up the U.S. Coast Guard enforcement to write tickets, and what we say is our jurisdiction up to 10 miles, they say it's only three miles," Dubuc said.
Texas is also setting its own rules when it comes to red snapper.