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Red snapper season begins May 26: What to know

Conservation officials will allow fishing on four-day weekends until quotas are met.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — State conservation officials have announced that the 2023 red snapper fishing season will begin May 26. The season will take place over four-day weekends (Friday through Monday) until a predetermined private angler quota has been reached.

The increase of the annual catch limit of the fish means that quota has risen to 591,185 pounds of red snapper.

Officials use a program called Snapper Check to monitor the landings of all fish taken and will provide updates on the Outdoor Alabama website each week.

Guidelines for the season, as written by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, are as follows:

  • Weekends open to red snapper harvest are defined as 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Monday.
  • The daily bag limit will be two red snapper per person, per day with a minimum size limit of 16 inches total length.
  • Anglers 16 years of age and older must have an Alabama saltwater fishing license (resident or non-resident, annual or trip), and any Alabama resident 65 or older or a lifetime saltwater license holder must have a current saltwater angler registration. The saltwater angler registration is free and available at outdooralabama.com/saltwater-fishing/saltwater-angler-registration.
  • All anglers 16 years of age and older who possess Gulf reef fish, including red snapper, must have an Alabama Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement which is available at outdooralabama.com/saltwater-fishing/saltwater-reef-fish-endorsement.
  • Anglers under the age of 16 are not required to be licensed, possess an Alabama Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement or have saltwater angler registration, but their catch must be included in a landing report.
  • The owner or operator of each vessel landing red snapper in Alabama is required by law to complete one landing report per vessel trip of their harvested red snapper through Snapper Check prior to removing the fish from the boat or the boat with the fish being removed from the water. All landed red snapper are required to be reported prior to landing regardless of the jurisdiction in which the fish were caught. Greater amberjack and gray triggerfish are also required to be reported when the season is open and must be reported in Snapper Check.
  • Red snapper caught from non-powered vessels, piers and the shoreline are required to be reported through Snapper Check and require a Conservation ID number, game.dcnr.alabama.gov/CID.
  • A landing report may be submitted through Snapper Check in the Outdoor AL app, which is available from Apple and Android stores or online at outdooralabama.com.
  • Participation in a MRD creel survey or being inspected by enforcement officers is not considered reporting. Anglers must still report through Snapper Check even if encountered by MRD staff.
  • Operators of vessels with an Alabama Commercial Party Boat License without federal for-hire permits must abide by the state season, possess an Alabama Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement for charter vessels and may only fish inside the 9-mile state waters line. An Alabama Snapper Check landing report must be completed when landing red snapper in Alabama.
  • Possession of red snapper in state waters while the Alabama season is closed is prohibited. Anglers fishing under another state’s red snapper season, must abide by that state’s rules and land fish in that state. Individuals on vessels with recreationally caught red snapper may not transit Alabama state waters while the Alabama season is closed.
  • Operators of federally permitted for-hire boats must possess an Alabama Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement but are not required to report through Snapper Check.
  • All vessels fishing for reef fish in federal waters are required to have a venting tool or descending device rigged and ready to use.  For more information, visit gulfcouncil.org/press/2022/noaa-fisheries-reminds-reef-fish-fishermen-of-descend-act-requirements-and-announces-a-final-rule-to-clarify-descending-device-and-venting-tool-definitions-for-reef-fish-fishing/

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