MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — The 2022 Red Snapper fishing season has been extended until the last Saturday of December, the 31st, for private and state anglers due to a number of reasons including spiked gas prices and extended inclement weather, according to Scott Bannon, director for Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
All federally permitted charter boats will no longer be able to fish for red snapper as the end of their season ended at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 19. according to Bannon. Private anglers and state licensed only charters are open for the four day weekends, which includes every Friday through Monday.
“I fully anticipate we will be open until December just because we don’t get that much effort in the fall,” said Bannon. “If you look at the graphic, it almost looks like we are closed once school starts.”
According to the Red Snapper summary accessible on Outdoor Alabama, anglers have reeled in 364,758 pounds of red snapper since the season began the week following Memorial weekend. The quota that needs to be reached before closing of the season is 1,122,662 pounds. According to those numbers, anglers have harvested just 32% of the quota.
Bannon gave a number of reasons for the low number of pounds citing heightened gas prices, bad weather and the starting of the school year along the Gulf Coast. He said effort is down as a whole in 2022.
“We have seen about a 40% reduction in fishing trips, so people are not going as much as they used to,” said Bannon. “If you look at 2020 and 2021 on the graph, the line just shoots up. This year the weather was terrible, so we took away that holiday weekend because we don’t people fishing during bad weather.”
Bannon said they usually fish about 150,000 or more pounds during Memorial weekend, but when you take that away, it changes the entire season. Bannon said the 2020 line is a bit skewed as well because of COVID-19.
“You couldn’t do anything else, you couldn’t go to Disney, couldn’t play travel sports.” added Bannon. “We allowed people to go fishing and they were pretty heavy. That’s why 2020 looks so spiked.”