The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces the closure of Alabama state waters to the harvest of red snapper by private anglers and state-licensed commercial party boats at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018. The quota of 984,291 pounds issued under NOAA Fisheries’ Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is expected to be met by the closure date.
“Alabama anglers fished extremely hard on the good weather days during the season,” said Marine Resources Director Scott Bannon. “That level of effort, coupled with larger average-sized fish harvested this year as compared to last year, resulted in a daily harvest rate two times higher than 2017, which prompted an earlier than anticipated closure.
“The purpose of the EFP was to demonstrate Alabama’s ability to establish a season and monitor landings within a fixed quota and I think we have shown we can do that,” said Bannon.
Anglers are reminded of the following:
- Possession of red snapper in Alabama waters while state waters are closed is prohibited regardless of where the fish were harvested.
- Alabama anglers may fish in federal waters off the coast of Alabama (outside of 9 nm) and land in a state that is open to the landing of red snapper, but they must adhere to the open state’s rules and not transit in Alabama state waters with red snapper on board.
- The season for federally-permitted charter for-hire vessels will close at 12:01 a.m. July 22.
In-season landings estimates were calculated through the use of Snapper Check, the program established in 2014 to collect mandatory trip reports from anglers, and this monitoring tool was a key component of the EFP.
MRD staff will review the complete 2018 season effort and landings data to develop a plan for the 2019 season. Summary data from the season and information about the EFP can been found at www.outdooralabama.com/saltwater-fishing/exempted-fishing-permit.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 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.