The recreational red snapper season in Alabama’s state waters has closed six weeks earlier than originally expected.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources closed the state season Sunday. The agency had originally planned to keep the fishing season open until September 3.
Alabama Marine Resources Division Director Scott Bannon says the quota of nearly 985 thousand pounds of snapper allocated to Alabama under NOAA guidelines has already been caught.
Bannon says more fishermen on the water coupled with bigger fish being harvested this year led to a daily harvest rate twice that of last year, which led to the early closure.
Bannon says even though the snapper season is closed, anglers should still head to the Gulf Coast:
“We have a large number of other fish that are available to folks. Beeliner or vermillion snapper will still be available, and then triggerfish and amberjack [season] is going to open August 1. That is controlled by the federal programs. We open and close along with the federal season. We aren’t sure how long that will run, but that opens August 1, so there is opportunity there.”
State officials say possession of red snapper in Alabama waters is now prohibited – regardless of where the fish were caught, even though the federal season is still open. Officials say anglers may fish for snapper in federal waters 9 nautical miles or more off the coast of Alabama, but they must land in a state in which the season is still open.