ORANGE BEACH, Al (WKRG) — An announcement to re-open red snapper season to recreational anglers is expected next week.
“Their voice has been heard all the way to Washington and all the way to the Whitehouse,” says Jeff Boyd, Orange Beach city councilman. “It’s a win.”
If all five Gulf states agree, starting June 17th state and federal waters will be open every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the summer through Labor Day. “I think it’s a great idea not only for the recreational fisherman but for the charter guys,” says angler Bobby Mason.
The weekends would include July 3rd and 4th and Labor Day. But, there is a catch. The states would have to agree to close their state season on weekdays.
All this in response to the shortest red snapper season in history for private boats. According to federal regulators, there are not enough red snapper to support a season longer than three days. Mason disagrees, “They’re almost an invasive species now. They’re taking over. You go and try to catch grouper and other fish all you get is snapper.”
But it’s not just about fishing. For the city of Orange Beach, Baldwin County and the state of Alabama, it’s about dollars and cents. “This is a revenue impact that is super important to our entire state,” says Boyd.
A multi-billion dollar industry for the city of Orange Beach with a large percentage of those tax dollars heading straight to Montgomery.
An announcement is expected by Wednesday if snapper season will re-open next weekend.