The State of Alabama announced this week that the 2020 red snapper season will close for private anglers on July 3, which is 16 days earlier than planned.
The decision to close early was made by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), which has calculated that the state will catch its limit on snapper earlier than expected.
Scott Bannon, director of ADCNR’s Marine Resources Division, said the state develops the dates for the season based on “historical weather information and fishing effort.”
He added that because Alabama has experienced “almost ideal fishing conditions” every weekend this year except during Tropical Storm Cristobal, the quota is being met earlier than planned.
“The number of vessel trips during the past two seasons averaged 527 trips per day. So far during the 2020 season, the average has been 822 vessel trips per day. When there are more people fishing we reach the quota sooner,” explained Bannon.
Information provided by the department shows that Alabama anglers had pulled in 842,000 of the 1.1 million pound red snapper quota as of June 22.
“I am disappointed that we will not be able to harvest red snapper during the full Fourth of July weekend or during the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. Like many, my family had plans to do both,” lamented ADCNR Commissioner Chris Blankenship.
The federal charter season for red snapper is unaffected by the recently announced change in Alabama. Federally licensed charter vessels may continue to fish for red snapper out of Alabama waters, which extend nine miles from Alabama’s coast.
Blankenship added, “[T]he red snapper management plan sets the red snapper quota allocated to Alabama, as well as the other Gulf states. We are required under the management plan to adjust to changes in the recreational fishery to ensure we do not exceed our quota.”