The federal government says states on the Gulf of Mexico can run their own seasons in both state and federal waters for anglers going after red snapper, a popular catch that’s still recovering from nearly disastrous overfishing.
A Commerce Department news release Tuesday says Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas all received two-year experimental permits to manage the seasons and to test data collection.
The department says each state will set its own private recreational season this year and next, closing each season when its quota is reached.
Louisiana says it asked to manage charter boats, but the federal agency kept that authority.
The National Marine Fisheries Service also is proposing the first South Atlantic red snapper season since 2014. That fishery covers waters from Florida to North Carolina.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources scheduled public meetings for next week on the upcoming red snapper season. For dates and locations, go to this link.
The move by the federal government was praised by lawmakers on the Gulf Coast and Washington D.C.
“I am confident that Alabama’s state-led pilot program will provide our recreational fisherman with much-needed, long-overdue relief and result in more days on the water,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) in a press release.
“The red snapper management granted by the EFP (exempted fishing permits) will allow Alabama to use the information from the Alabama Snapper Check Program, as well as the terabytes of fisheries data we have collected on the red snapper population in the Alabama Artificial Reef Zones, to show we can sustainably manage this fishery,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.