Alabama to end red snapper season for private anglers, charter vessels July 3

Alabama to end red snapper season for private anglers, charter vessels July 3
Alabama's red snapper season for private anglers and charter vessels will end July 3. (contributed)

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) announced Wednesday that the red snapper season for 2020 will close July 3 for private fishermen and state-licensed charter vessels.

The agency said after completing a review of the first 20 days of the season, it anticipates the quota will be reached by next week. Alabama waters will close to private and charter anglers at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 3.

As of June 22, ADCNR landing estimates show that anglers have caught about 842,000 pounds of the 1.1-million-pound Alabama red snapper quota. During the COVID-19 pandemic, vessel trips have increased by more than a third over the past two seasons.

“Other than the weekend of Tropical Storm Cristobal, we have had great weather in coastal Alabama, which provided almost ideal fishing conditions,” said Scott Bannon, director of ADCNR Marine Resources Division. “We develop the season dates based on historical weather information and fishing effort, both of which can be unpredictable once the season begins. The number of vessel trips during the past two seasons averaged 527 trips per day. So far during the 2020 season, the average has been 822 vessel trips per day. When there are more people fishing, we reach the quota sooner.”

Detailed red snapper landing information from the 2018-2020 seasons is available at https://www.outdooralabama.com/2020-red-snapper-landings-summary.

“I have fished most weekends of the season and it has been good to see so many people out enjoying this fishery,” said ADCNR Commissioner Chris Blankenship. “I am disappointed that we will not be able to harvest red snapper during the full Fourth of July weekend or during the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. Like many, my family had plans to do both. However, the red snapper management plan sets the red snapper quota allocated to Alabama, as well as the other Gulf states. We are required under the management plan to adjust to changes in the recreational fishery to ensure we do not exceed our quota. We will continue to work to make improvements in the federal stock assessment process for red snapper that we hope will increase the quota for future years.”

The federal charter season for red snapper is open seven days a week until 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2020. Federally permitted charter vessels are not under state management, so any season adjustments for charter vessels will be made by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Federal waters off Alabama, outside 9 miles, will be open to anglers landing red snapper in other states that have open red snapper seasons. The possession of red snapper, in Alabama waters, is prohibited during the closed recreational season.

The ADNCR promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.

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