MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – After months of debate on the Gulf Coast and Capitol Hill, the federal red snapper season for 2017 will be a total of three days, according to Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne.
According to Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the season will open June 1 and will remain open until June 3.
The season for charter boats will be slightly longer. The charter-for-hire season will open the same day (June 1) and remain open for 49 days.
The official announcement will come from the Marine Fisheries division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“They’re missing where 85 percent of the snapper, triggerfish, amberjack live,” said Tom Steber, the general manager of Zeke’s marina, on how the NOAA sets the day limits by the population they observe. “Cause they won’t live on sand bottom, they’re gonna live on a house just like you will.”
Sen. Shelby issued the following statement to News Five after the announcement, “I am deeply troubled and disappointed with NOAA’s decision to considerably shorten the federal recreational fishing season for red snapper in the Gulf. NOAA’s announcement today is unacceptable.
Rep. Byrne tweeted after the announcement:
“it makes you feel a little bit more justified that they’re seeing it,” said Jimmy Daniels, a local charter captain who also fishes recreationally in his own time, about the tweets and acknowledgment from local representatives. “It’s just like, you keep gotta wondering why aren’t they doing something about it.”
The historically low season for 2017 comes one year after the season was a total of nine days.
However, several states are giving their citizens another option when it comes to red snapper fishing. States decided to open their waters, which go nine nautical miles from shore, for additional days.
In Alabama, state waters will open Friday, May 26 and remain open until July 31. In Florida, the state waters will open one day later than Alabama and will remain open for 78 days. In Mississippi, recreational anglers will be allowed to harvest from May 26th through September 4th. In Texas, the Red Snapper season in state waters is year round.
“With only three days we could have bad weather and make it unsafe,” Daniels added. “That’s the biggest part… that there will be people that no matter how rough it is because they only have three days, they’re gonna try to go. So I worry about the safety aspect of it.”
Wildlife officials want to remind fishermen that they are required to report their catch to the Snapper Check program.