Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the National Marine Fisheries Service has granted Alabama’s request for an Exempted Fishing Permit, thereby allowing the state of Alabama to manage the recreational red snapper fishing dates for 2018 and 2019.
“I am very pleased that the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the National Marine Fisheries Service, has granted Alabama an Exempted Fishing Permit for the next two red snapper seasons,” Ivey said.
“Due to this exemption, I have instructed the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to set the 2018 season to 47 days. This season will allow recreational anglers five more days to fish for red snapper compared to last year.”
Alabama and federal waters will be open for red snapper fishing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June 1 through Sept. 2. Red snapper landings will also be allowed July 2-5 and Labor Day. The bag limit will remain two per person with a 16-inch minimum length.
The Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs) were made possible through language authored by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby in the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill that directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service to develop the fishery management pilot program allowing states to direct reef fish management activities.
The federal charter season for red snapper is not included in Alabama’s new permit and is expected to be announced by NOAA Fisheries sometime in April. The federal charter season for red snapper is expected to be longer than the federal charter season in 2017.
Fishermen are reminded that they are still required to report their red snapper harvest through the Alabama Snapper Check Program.
The data collected through the Alabama Snapper Check Program the past four years was critical in securing the additional red snapper fishing days. Only one report is required per vessel trip, and anglers can provide details via a smartphone app available under “Outdoor Alabama” in the iTunes or Google Play app stores; online at www.outdooralabama.com; or by paper forms available at select coastal public boat launches.
Hire a charter boat for a red snapper fishing expedition and stay at a vacation rental in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach for a long weekend or a week.