MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WALA) – Governor Robert Bentley along with The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division announced Thursday that Alabama State waters will open for the harvest of red snapper and gray triggerfish on all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in July.
“The state red snapper season will be open during three of the biggest weekends for fishing: The Fourth of July weekend, the Roy Martin Dauphin Island Young Anglers Tournament and the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Red snapper fishing is popular along the Alabama Gulf Coast, and the extra fishing days are good for the Gulf Coast economy. I welcome fishermen to take advantage of the additional opportunities for red snapper fishing in our waters.”
The bag limit will be two red snapper per person per day and two gray triggerfish per person per day. The minimum size for red snapper will be 16” total length and the minimum size for gray triggerfish will be 14” fork length. Federal waters remain closed to red snapper and gray triggerfish harvest.
Fishermen are required to report red snapper harvest to the Marine Resources Division. Only one report is required per vessel trip, and fishermen can provide details via a smartphone app available under “Outdoor Alabama” in the iTunes or Google Play app stores; online at outdooralabama.com; by telephone at 1-844-REDSNAP (1-844-733-7627), or by paper forms available at select coastal public boat launches. Additional information can be found at outdooralabama.com/fishing/saltwater/redsnappercheck/.
“The federal red snapper season this year was only nine days. Our biologists have assessed the resource in our waters, and we feel that there are still enough red snapper in Alabama waters to open an additional season in order to give our citizens the ability to catch more red snapper this year,” Chris Blankenship, Director of the Marine Resources Division said. “The red snapper reporting compliance from the recreational and charter fishermen during the federal season was very good. The information obtained from the red snapper reporting program gives us confidence that we can open this season in state waters for sustainable harvest.”
The Alabama Legislature passed a bill in the 2014 session to extend Alabama waters to nine miles for fisheries management. This new distance is not currently recognized by the federal government and persons possessing red snapper or gray triggerfish farther than three miles from shore could receive citations from federal or state law enforcement officers. During this extended season, the Marine Resources Division will recognize the Legislative nine-mile limit for the harvest of red snapper and gray triggerfish. However, anglers should be aware that federal enforcement officers could issue citations outside the three-mile limit and should understand that possession of red snapper and gray triggerfish between three and nine miles in Alabama state waters is at your own risk.
“We will continue to work with the federal government and the other Gulf States to responsibly manage this great fishery in federal waters while also allowing proper management in Alabama waters,” said Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr. “Governor Bentley and the Department of Conservation appreciate the participation of our fishermen in the Marine Resources Division Red Snapper Reporting Program. The information from this program is vital to improving the access of our citizens to red snapper fishery.”