Due to federal restrictions put in place for population management, Alabama’s Red Snapper season was shorter than usual this year. The summer season ran from June 1 to midnight on June 29.
But any Alabama fishermen that were disappointed in the shorter season now have a reason to rejoice: Red Snapper season is reopening in October.
Alabama’s fall Red Snapper season, which was determined on September 13 by the Alabama Marine Resources Division, will run from October 1 through October 14 and will mirror the federal season.
“It’s not regular to have a split season,” said Chris Blankenship, director of Alabama Marine Resources and program administrator for the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. “We just knew the new assessment would show we would be allowed to catch more fish than was previously set. Having access to these additional pounds of Red Snapper in the fall should make for some very enjoyable fishing days.”
The new stock assessment, which was completed in June by the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, showed that the Red Snapper fishery is rebuilding. This allows for a bigger harvest, hence the additional two-week season this fall.
“Since the June season had already been set under the old quota, a new rule was needed to add the additional pounds,” said Blankenship. “That was done in August to allow additional fish to be caught.”
The additional fall season is not only a bonus for Alabama’s recreational fishermen—it’s a sign that Alabama’s Red Snapper population is increasing, which means a financial boost for the seafood industry and the local economy.
“Any additional days of Red Snapper fishing mean millions to the economy of Alabama,” said Blankenship. “So we are pleased with having a fall season.”
While the current Red Snapper levels are rebuilding and allowing for an extra two weeks of harvesting, the outlook for next year’s Red Snapper season is still uncertain. Harvest quotas are determined with future years in mind, but due to uncertainty regarding recreational angler turnout and the federal government’s data collecting methods, it can be difficult to predict what next year’s season will look like.
Nevertheless, recreational and commercial fishermen alike will be able to make good use of the extra Red Snapper quota, and seafood fans in Alabama and beyond will enjoy the fruits of their labor.
To learn more about how Red Snapper seasons are determined in Alabama, check out AL.com’s story about the initial announcement of the fall season.