At long last, the days of federal mismanagement of red snapper fishing will soon be over. Starting next Friday, June 1, the 2018 red snapper season in Alabama will begin under the management of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The state-managed season was made possible through language authored by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby in the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill that directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service to develop the fishery management pilot program allowing states to direct reef fish management activities.
It will run through September 3, with Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays open to fishing. The entire week of the Fourth of July (June 30 through July 8) will also be open for red snapper fishing. Red snapper landings will also be allowed July 2-5 and Labor Day. The bag limit will remain two per person with a 16-inch minimum length.
Under the pilot program, private recreational anglers will each be responsible for monitoring landings so they do not exceed their portion.
Alabama will use Snapper Check to monitor its landings and determine if:
- the season will close as anticipated;
- the season will close earlier than anticipated due to daily landings exceeding forecasted totals; or
- the original season length should be increased if daily landings do not meet anticipated levels (i.e. due to smaller fish size or inclement weather).