Jun 06 2018

Alabama Daily News: It’s #SnapperSZN

It’s red snapper season, a time of year when many deep sea anglers rejoice. And thanks to the work of Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Bradley Byrne, Alabama fishermen can enjoy more days on the open water.

Red snapper season started June 1 and runs each weekend through Labor Day and the entire week of Independence Day for a potential total of 47 days. The season is subject to change given such factors as amount of snapper caught and weather. 

The state is allowed to catch a grand total of 984,291 pounds of snapper, while individual anglers are limited to two snappers per day. Anglers will be required to participate in a state-led program that reports the weight and number of snapper caught per vessel to a national registry. 

“This is a critical step that will provide private anglers more days to fish on the water,” Shelby said in a statement. “These state-led pilot programs will offer an alternative management framework for recreational fishermen in the Gulf and ensure that states are taking the lead in overseeing this abundant and invaluable fishery.”

Shelby is Appropriations Committee chair in the Senate. He also previously chaired Commerce, Justice and Science, which has jurisdiction over the Department of the Commerce’s budget. He authored language in a 2017 federal spending bill directing the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a pilot program allowing states to manage reef fishing on their own, which made the new season possible.

Last year, anglers were limited to only three days due to federal conservation regulations. These regulations were undone in large part due to the work of Shelby and Byrne, along with legislators from other states along the Gulf Coast. 

“Our fishermen will have adequate time to enjoy a Gulf Coast tradition while our coastal communities will benefit from increased revenue,” Byrne said in a statement. “It is a win-win situation for coastal Alabama.”

Administered in the state by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Snapper Check is the tool anglers will use to report snapper catches. The program can be accessed via smartphone app, the Outdoor Alabama website or paper forms available at select coastal public boat launches. 

For more information on this year’s snapper season, including access to Snapper Check, visit www.outdooralabama.com.