Alabama to see 47-day Red Snapper season

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 4/9/18

A longer federal Red Snapper season is already being heavily praised by Congressman Bradley Byrne.

The 2018 Red Snapper season in Alabama will run from June 1 through September 3, with Fridays, …

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Alabama to see 47-day Red Snapper season

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A longer federal Red Snapper season is already being heavily praised by Congressman Bradley Byrne.

The 2018 Red Snapper season in Alabama will run from June 1 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.

The announcement of a 47-day Red Snapper season comes following approval of Alabama’s exempted fishing permit (EFP) by the Department of Commerce.

“Last year, we were facing a three-day Red Snapper fishing season,” Byrne said. “I went to work with Senator Richard Shelby, the Trump Administration and my Gulf Coast colleagues to ensure a real Red Snapper season. Thankfully, this year Alabama fishermen will have a 47-day season. I’ll continue working to stand up for our fishermen and coastal communities.”

Byrne has previously spoken out in favor of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s approval of an exempted fishing permit (EFP) pilot program for the 2018 and 2019 Red Snapper seasons in the Gulf of Mexico. The program will allow the Gulf states to set their own Red Snapper season lengths.

In December, Byrne sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National marine Fisheries Service urging their support of the exempted fishing permit pilot program for Red Snapper.

The Gulf States, including Alabama, submitted proposals for an alternative style of red snapper management for private and state charter vessel anglers during 2018 and 2019. Each state would have the ability to establish fishing season start and end dates in federal waters off their respective state’s coast.

Under the proposals, each state requested a portion of the total allowable catch for private recreational anglers in the Gulf and they would 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 1) the season will close as anticipated; 2) the season will close earlier than anticipated due to daily landings exceeding forecasted totals; or 3) 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).

Alabama's proposal has state and federal waters opening for weekends only (Friday–Sunday) from June 1 through September 3 (Labor Day).

These specific proposals are referred to as Exempted Fishing Permits.

“Alabama fishermen will enjoy a 47-day Red Snapper season this year,” Byrne said. “This is a huge development for our local fishermen and Alabama’s coastal communities. This is how government should work: take power from Washington and return it to the people who best understand the issue. Under this proposal, our fishermen will have adequate time to enjoy a Gulf Coast tradition while our coastal communities will benefit from increased revenue. It is a win-win situation for coastal Alabama.”