Alabama fishermen, mark your calendars: the state has officially set the 2019 recreational red snapper fishing season.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on Wednesday announced the season will take place on three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) from Saturday, June 1 through Sunday, July 28, including July 4.
This will be the second year in a row, the state is operating under an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) from NOAA Fisheries, which gives the state the ability to establish fishing season start and end dates in federal waters off the state’s coast.
Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, a long-time advocate for Alabama red snapper fisherman, praised the news.
“Under the Red Snapper season announced today, Alabama’s fishermen and coastal communities should be thrilled,” said Byrne. “This full season will provide adequate time for recreational fishermen to take advantage of the healthy Red Snapper fishery in the Gulf while also boosting the economy in our coastal communities.”
According to the Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources:
The 2019 private angling season is based on the fishing effort and average size of fish collected during 2018. Under the EFP, Alabama is provided a percentage of the Gulf-wide recreational quota for red snapper. Alabama’s 2019 private vessel quota is 1,079,573 pounds. Under the terms of the EFP, Alabama will use Snapper Check to monitor the landings during the season and may adjust the season length to provide maximum access for fishermen while adhering to the quota.
“In 2018, the first year of the EFP, Alabama’s quota was 984,291 pounds and we estimated a 47-day season,” said Marine Resources Division Director Scott Bannon. “What we did not anticipate were the ideal weather conditions and the tremendous effort by Alabama anglers, which caused us to close the season after 28 days. We were required to adhere to the quota and, for the most part, we did, as we exceeded the quota by only 0.2 percent. Although the season was shortened, a tremendous number of people took advantage of the amazing red snapper fishery off Alabama’s coast, and we have shown that Alabama can manage the season effectively and make adjustments necessary to maintain this valuable fishery.”
Except for the opening weekend, which begins on a Saturday, weekends are defined as 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. This season only applies to private anglers and state-licensed Alabama commercial party boats that do not hold federal for-hire fishing permits.