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Fall Red Snapper Season Is On!
Feds expected to approve season for weekends from Oct. 1-Nov. 22.
By Nick Carter
Posted Tuesday September 28 2010, 1:15 PM
Alabama anglers will have the chance to fill their freezers with red snapper this fall thanks to an eight-weekend season to make up for the summer debacle.
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There was still some red tape and paperwork to clear up at presstime Sept. 16, but it appears as if saltwater fishermen and charter captains on the Alabama coast this fall will have the opportunity to make up for at least some of the red snapper season that was lost to the BP Oil Spill.

Dr. Bob Shipp, chairman of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, spoke to AON from a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) meeting in Charleston, S.C. Sept. 15. He assured Gulf anglers that the fall season proposed by the Gulf Council will be approved at the federal level.

“Roy Crabtree with the NMFS said that it is going to happen,” Bob said. “It’s just that they have not gotten the required legal paperwork stuff done. The feds are confident that they will be able to put the notice in the federal register next week.”

The fall season, as proposed by the Gulf Council, will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 1 through Nov. 22. The daily limit of two fish measuring longer than 16 inches will apply.

That gives anglers an eight-weekend, 24-day season to make up for an already short 54-day season over the summer that was completely wiped out because of federal fisheries closures following the BP oil spill. One day after the season opened June 1, most of the Gulf of Mexico’s federal waters accessible for Alabama fishermen were closed, and most of the snapper bottoms are within federal waters.

As a result, Shipp said there were about 2.2 million pounds of snapper left in the Gulf’s 3.4 million-lb. quota for this year.

“They don’t anticipate that we’ll even catch that this year,” said Bob. “Now (the uncaught quota) will not roll over (into next year’s quota), but it will add to the stock and make the next stock assessment healthier if there are fish that are not caught.”

There’s also a question of open federal waters for the fall season. On Sept. 3, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), following extensive testing, opened more federal waters to fishing. At that point, 17 percent of the federal waters in the Gulf were still closed to fishing.

However, come Oct. 1, there is little doubt Alabama anglers will be able to find a piece of bottom to fish. Just make sure to visit <> to make sure the season was approved.
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