Recreational fishing captains along Florida's coastline are hoping regional fishery managers will consider an emergency measure to lift the federal ban on red snapper fishing that has made them off-limits for the past two-and-a-half years.
If the ban is lifted, salt water anglers across the southeastern United States would be allowed to keep a small number of the fish caught in the Atlantic.
Federal officials will examine new data this week that could point toward lifting the ban.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council plans to review new data this week from the National Marine Fisheries Service. The council will also hear public comment on the matter Thursday and is expected to announce its decision on Friday.
If the council decides to lift the ban, limited fishing of red snapper would be allowed but it would be at least two more years until widespread fishing would be allowed.
The red snapper fishing ban went into effect Jan. 4, 2010. The next total stock assessment of the species is not scheduled until 2014.