From Jim Zeigler:
Federal regulators have extended the red snapper season for recreational anglers in federal Gulf waters.
The season will be extended by 39 days, allowing recreational red snapper fishing in state and federal waters on all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays plus Labor Day Monday, the final day. The extended season could begin this Friday, June 16.
The announcement followed a compromise between state directors in the five Gulf state and federal officials. This year’s federal season for recreational anglers was three days. It was the shortest season ever, prompting outrage among Alabama leaders and recreational fishermen.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler, from Mobile and himself a red snapper fisherman, has been calling for Alabama to “assert state control of Alabama fisheries and get completely out from under federal regulation.” That move would require congressional legislation or an executive order from the President.
“Strong advocacy by state officials has paid off with an extension of red snapper season to Labor Day, but three-day weekends only. There was strong public backlash against the ridiculous three-day fishing set by the Feds. While the weekends ‘compromise’ is much better, the long-term solution is to get Alabama completely out from under federal control and have our state regulate our own fisheries,” Zeigler said.
“Red snapper season could be SIX MONTHS instead of three days under my plan for state fishery management,” Zeigler said Wednesday.
Internationally-recognized expert in fishery management Dr. Bob Shipp of Mobile says abolishing federal management of the Alabama fishery should proceed.
“Off Alabama, our research indicates we could have a six-month season with a two-snapper bag limit without making a dent in the population. This is due to our extensive artificial reef program. Such flexibility is impossible under federal management, which tends to treat red snapper as one stock, fished one way, said Dr. Shipp.