Red snapper is a favorite among anglers on the Alabama Gulf Coast, and luckily, this year’s snapper season has been extended.
With high fuel prices and inclement weather early in the season, private recreational anglers have not come close to Alabama’s one-million-pound-plus quota for the state’s iconic reef fish – red snapper. Scott Bannon, Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division, said offshore fishing on Memorial Day weekend was way off because of bad weather.
Bannon said the typical red snapper harvest on that opening weekend is about 150,000 pounds, but the 2022 harvest for the same weekend was only a few thousand pounds. He said that is the beauty of state management of the red snapper season. Private anglers can wait for better weather and not take a chance on a risky outing because the quota determines when the season will end. Bannon said the private recreational season, which is open Friday through Monday each week, will remain open until December 31 or until the quota is met, which is not likely.
These recommendations are based on recommendations from the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee because of updated estimates from the Great Red Snapper Count in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas and a study done in Louisiana.
Because of the evidence of the abundance of red snapper, the Council chose to decrease the overfishing limit and increase the acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, and annual catch targets. Of course, any action taken by the GMFMC must be approved by NOAA and the Secretary of Commerce before taking effect.
Alabama’s red snapper quota for 2022 was 1,122,662 pounds. The 2023 quota for Alabama private recreational anglers will be 1,212,687 pounds if approved.