Alabama opens for Red Snapper fishing on May 22

May 14, 2020
Red snapper in red bucket

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces Alabama state waters and federal waters will open for red snapper fishing for private anglers on Friday, May 22, 2020. The season will consist of four-day weekends, Friday through Monday. The season is anticipated to last for 35 days and is scheduled to close on Sunday, July 19, 2020.

The season dates only apply to anglers fishing from recreational vessels and state-licensed Alabama commercial party boats that do not hold federal for-hire fishing permits. Anglers fishing from federally-permitted for-hire vessels have their own season that will be announced at a later date by NOAA Fisheries.

Alabama’s 2020 private angler red snapper season is based on a federal quota of 1,122,662 pounds. The season dates may be adjusted based on harvest.

“We have added Mondays to our traditional weekend season in response to many requests from anglers who wanted more weekday access,” said Chris Blankenship, ADCNR Commissioner.  “I am also pleased that the season will begin with the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The passage of the Regional Management Amendment by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, Amendment 50, earlier this year gives Alabama the ability to manage the red snapper season for the maximum benefit and access for our anglers. I am looking forward to a great season.”

Anglers are reminded of the following:

  • Weekends are defined as 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Monday.
  • The daily bag limit is two red snapper per person, per day with a minimum size limit of 16 inches total length.
  • Anglers over the age of 16 must have an Alabama saltwater fishing license (resident or nonresident, annual or trip), or any Alabama resident angler 65 or older or lifetime saltwater license holder must have a current saltwater angler registration. The saltwater angler registration is free and available at www.outdooralabama.com/saltwater-fishing/saltwater-angler-registration.
  • All anglers; including residents and non-residents 16 years of age and older, including lifetime license holders, disability license holders and those 65 and older, must have a Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement to fish for or possess any reef fish. The Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement can be purchased online at www.outdooralabama.com/license-information.
  • Each vessel landing red snapper 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 red snapper landed in Alabama are required to be reported regardless of the jurisdiction in which they were caught.
  • Anglers under the age of 16 are not required to be licensed or have saltwater angler registration, but their catch must be included in the landing report.  
  • A landing report may be submitted through Snapper Check in the Outdoor AL mobile app, which is available from the Apple and Android stores or online at www.outdooralabama.com. If you have previously downloaded the Pocket Ranger version of the mobile app, please uninstall it and download the current Outdoor AL app. Paper landing reports and drop boxes are also available at select coastal public boat ramps.
  • Participating in a MRD creel survey or being inspected by MRD law enforcement officers is not considered reporting. Anglers must still report their harvest through Snapper Check or fill out a paper report 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 and may only fish inside the 9-mile state waters line. An Alabama landing report must be completed before landing red snapper in Alabama in addition to holding a Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement.
  • Possession of red snapper in state waters while the Alabama season is closed is prohibited. Anglers fishing under another state’s season must abide by that state’s rules and land fish in that state. Individuals on vessels with red snapper may not transit Alabama state waters while the Alabama season is closed.

Anglers on federally-permitted charter vessels may fish in state waters only during the days the state and federal season is open. They may transit state waters with red snapper during the federal for-hire season on days the private angler season is closed. Owners/operators of federally-permitted charter vessels are required to submit an Alabama red snapper landing report prior to red snapper being landed in Alabama and possess a Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.