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2014 Red Snapper Data Collection Program Outlined: Regulation aims to improve fisheries management of red snapper
May 21, 2014
Dauphin Island, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has established a new data program designed to more accurately count red snapper harvested among Alabama’s anglers. The new system requires only one report per vessel trip, which can be filled out via smartphone app, online, by telephone, or by paper form.
“This new red snapper data collection program is a critical element in our fight to show that the State of Alabama has the ability to properly manage this vitally important fishery,” said Chris Blankenship, Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division.
Red snapper are an important species to many of Alabama’s saltwater anglers and make up a sizable part of Alabama’s estimated $690 million recreational fishery. The 2014 federal recreational red snapper season will be the shortest season on record, due in part to poor data collection methods used by federal fishery managers. Ever decreasing seasons have negatively impacted Alabama’s citizens and visitors as well as the state’s coastal communities.
In order to make available better data to manage this important fishery, ADCNR’s Commissioner, via emergency regulation, established the new program on May 13, 2014. The new regulation requires the captain or owner of a charter or private vessel with red snapper on board to report all red snapper kept and discarded dead prior to landing in Alabama regardless of where fish are caught.
Additional information required to be reported includes:
• Vessel registration
• Type of vessel (private or charter)
• County of landing (when seafood is transferred from a vessel to land or to a pier, dock, bulkhead attached to land or when a vessel is hauled onto land via a trailer)
• Number of anglers
Only one report is required per vessel trip, and anglers can provide details via a smartphone app available under “Outdoor Alabama” in the iTunes or Google Play app stores; online at outdooralabama.com; by telephone at 1-844-REDSNAP (1-844-733-7627), or by paper forms available at select coastal public boat launches.
“We have had broad support from both charter and recreational fishing organizations to improve the data collection for red snapper,” Blankenship said. “I appreciate Commissioner Gunter Guy and the Conservation Advisory Board for promulgating this regulation. The correct landing information from this program can be a tool we can use to either vastly improve the federal management for this species or work to have the management transferred to the states.”
ADCNR continues to support Alabama’s anglers and anticipates this program will assist its efforts to maximize access to this valuable resource. For more information, contact Chris Blankenship at 251-861-2882.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.