In 1988, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (ADWFF) suspended the commercial and recreational harvest of paddlefish in Alabama. This action was in response to a rapid decline of Alabama paddlefish stocks following an increase in the commercial harvest during the early 1980s. In recent years, biological sampling of paddlefish by Fisheries Section biologists has demonstrated that the species has recovered to the point where regulated commercial harvests in Alabama would provide additional data that could be used to develop a long-term management plan for a sustainable paddlefish fishery. Beginning in 2013, ADWFF established the first of these regulated harvest seasons.
As proposed for in 2018, ADWFF will implement a sixth limited season for the commercial harvest of paddlefish in three specific sections of the Alabama River. Only 12 commercial fishing permits will be issued for this season, which will last from February 1 through February 28, 2018.
Only Alabama residents that held a 2016-17 Alabama Freshwater Commercial Fishing License and nonresidents that held an equivalent 2017 Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois or Missouri Resident Commercial Roe Fish Harvester License will be eligible to submit entries for these permits. Residents of these states are eligible because only these four states allow Alabama residents to commercially fish for paddlefish in their waters. Eligible entries will be randomly drawn for the 12 paddlefish harvest permits.
During the proposed 2018 paddlefish season, the commercial harvest of paddlefish will only be permitted in three Paddlefish Management Areas (PMAs) located on the Alabama River. Four permits will be issued for each of the PMAs. The Alabama River PMAs include 59.6 miles of river reach, in two sections, downstream of Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam (Jones Bluff) in Lowndes, Autauga and Dallas counties; a 46.0 - mile reach downstream of Miller’s Ferry Lock and Dam in Wilcox and Monroe Counties; and a 44.4 - mile reach downstream of Claiborne Lock and Dam in Monroe and Clarke counties.
Commercial fishing for paddlefish will only be permitted in these PMAs during daylight hours Monday through Friday during the specified season.
For Proposed Paddlefish Harvest Regulations Seasons and Permit Fees:
FOR QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS ACCESSING THESE FILES, CALL THE FISHERIES SECTION 334-242-3471.