2016 Red Snapper 9-day season in the Gulf of Mexico
In an example of a battle between federal and state lawmakers, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration declared a nine day season for Red Snapper fishing. In Alabama, the state has said they have the authority to set their own season dates so long as they are nine miles out from the coast. In this scenario, they are declaring a 66 day season.
Chris Blankenship is the direction of the Marine Resources Division for Alabama. He stated that the federal limit “. . . will be the shortest ever for private vessels. (We) have assessed the resource in our waters, and we feel that there are enough red snapper in Alabama waters to open an additional season to give our citizens the ability to catch more red snapper this year.”
Similarly the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conversation and Natural Resources stated, “We will continue to work with the federal government and the other Gulf states to responsibly manage this great fishery in federal waters while also allowing proper management in Alabama waters. However, the incredibly short federal red snapper season is uncalled for.”
Another factor involved is that the short federal season forces fishers to go out to deeper waters, which can be more dangerous. In essence, this is not only a battle on the federal and state level, but also between conservationists and the economics of states that rely on fishing at the local level. It’s a difficult balancing act to manage on all sides.