Holiday Weekend Marks Opening of State Red Snapper Season

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

About one month from today, June 1 is the traditional opening day of the Federal red snapper Season for the Gulf of Mexico. But his year it was announced by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council the federal season would be the shortest every, just three days.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have your favorite rod rigged and ready with an egg weight. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) continues to provide the best, most family-friendly fishing days for red snapper for locals and beach visitors.

Alabama's state waters will open for the recreational harvest of red snapper at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 26, and go through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2017. I love that our conservation leaders established our state season to open Memorial Day weekend and remain open through the busiest time of the summer. This is a winner for fishermen and also makes tremendous economic sense. These dates also provide several local fishing tournaments such as the Flora-Bama Fishing Rodeo, The Mobile Big Game Fishing Club Junior Angler Tournament and the Kyser Miree Fishing Tournament to benefit by having red snapper as a tournament category.

Alabama state waters extend nine nautical miles from shore. The MRD wants to make sure everyone understands how the nine-mile line is established so none will inadvertently run afoul of the law. They have a very informative FAQ on their website. This year the daily bag limit will again be two red snapper per person with a minimum size of 16 inches.

Not only does the MRD provide a map with every natural reef in state waters, but they also make them easily available for download to then upload to your GPS. Our state does a lot to help anglers be successful in state waters. In return, they rely on anglers to provide them with catch information to share with the federal government in hopes of better decision making for Federal red snapper seasons in years to come.

Fishermen are still required to report their red snapper harvest through Snapper Check to the MRD during the state season as well as any other time red snapper are landed in Alabama (Federal red snapper season). The easiest way, and it takes all of about thirty seconds to do so, is to use the app available on your phone the through the MRD website.

Deputy Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship, who has always been most approachable and accessible to recreational anglers, wants to remind everyone the importance of reporting their catches.

“Alabama will use the landings from the Snapper Check program as well as other fisheries information before making any decision on a possible additional red snapper season later in the year,” he said.

I know it can seem as though reporting how many red snapper we are catching will only lead to fewer days of fishing not more because of how many fish we are all catching. But that simply is not the case. Blankenship emphasizes that the information gained by his team through Snapper Check continually reinforces actual red snapper data which is shared with Federal authorities.

Blankenship only wants what is best for the red snapper fishery and red snapper anglers. He is ‘one of us.' He wants recreational anglers to get more days to fish in Federal waters. He is a driving force in making state waters available at the most important time of the year. He is also a red snapper fisherman. It seems the least we can do is help him by reporting our catch for the betterment of all things red snapper.

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Jim Cox
Jim Cox (1327 Posts)
Jim Cox is an avid inshore, offshore, and big game fisherman. He has twice qualified for the prestigious IGFA Offshore Championships in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is the past president of the Mobile…