Dr. Bob Shipp is THE authority on Gulf of Mexico red snapper. He recently retired after serving the last 20 years as chairman of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama, and he also served two nine-year stints on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the board responsible for making recommendations to NOAA Fisheries about how federal Gulf fisheries are to be managed. During his time on the council, Shipp served as chairman on three separate occasions.
When the scuba-diving community considered a destination in the past, Alabama was not a location that popped up regularly.
Those who love diving along the state’s Gulf Coast hope that is rapidly changing with the latest effort to bring a new awareness of the diving opportunities in Alabama state waters and a little farther offshore.
The first step in Alabama’s effort to attract the diving world occurred two years ago when a 271-foot coastal freighter, formerly used to carry cargo for relatively short trips to coastal areas and the Caribbean, was renamed “LuLu” and sunk off the Alabama coast to great fanfare.
The Marine Resources Division reminds recreational red snapper anglers that the captain or owner of any vessel, private or charter, is required to report all red snapper kept and discarded dead prior to landing in Alabama. Only one report is required per vessel trip and anglers can provide information via one of the following methods; the Outdoor Alabama Pocket Ranger® app available 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.
If National Weather Service forecasts hold up, folks competing in the 38th Mobile Big Game Fishing Club Memorial Day Tournament can expect clear skies and relatively calm seas throughout most of the weekend.
The forecast changes a little on Sunday when a building southeast wind is expected to kick up seas between 4 and 6 feet, but the bigger boats should be able to handle those heights with no major issues.
The fishing forecast is a little spottier, according to Chris Vecsey at Sam’s in Orange Beach.
In all likelihood there have never been as many Gulf Red Snapper in recorded history. In spite of these soaring populations, a broken system of federal management is precluding what would otherwise be a robust and sustainable economic driver to a regional economy in desperate need of a break.
It’s a day many along the Gulf Coast will not forget.
A gas leak on the deepwater horizon sparks a massive explosion killing eleven people and injuring seventeen others.
For 87 days, more than three million barrels of oil spewed into the ocean.
Five years later they test to find what danger still lingers in the Gulf.
Kill them and grill them.
That’s what organizers of the inaugural Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day festival at Plaza de Luna on Palafox Pier this weekend are urging people to do to help eradicate the invasive species from Gulf waters.
A venomous fish that used to only be found in the western Pacific or on display in aquariums, is threatening to destroy the Gulf Coast seafood industry.
No one knows for certain how lionfish invaded the Gulf of Mexico, but Amanda Nalley, representative for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), has a hunch.
If you’re visiting Orange Beach this weekend, the Orange Beach Fire Department said dangerous rip currents and the poisonous jellyfish, the Portuguese Man O’ War, mean beach-goers should stay out of the water.
A group of volunteers looking for evidence of sea turtle nests made on Alabama’s beaches found a 10-pound package of drugs instead this week in Orange Beach. Lt. Cliff Roberts of the Orange Beach Police Department said the volunteers contacted OBPD Tuesday morning after locating the suspicious package in the surf.
Pensacola is headquarters for Florida’s largest lionfish event aimed at eradicating as many of the frilly-maned invaders from our waters as possible and creating demand for its tasty, white meat.
The inaugural Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day festival and tournament is May 16-17 at Plaza de Luna on Palafox Pier, and at nine other communities across the state — Kissimmee, Fort Pierce, Crawfordville, Panama City, Martin County, Jacksonville, Key Biscayne, Destin and Mexico Beach.
New rules for catching the tasty fish are giving hope to commercial charter boat captains from Florida to Texas that the 2015 season will be one of their best in years, yet those same regulations have recreational anglers crying foul about what they see as government overreach.
Despite an increase in the red snapper quotas for 2015, private recreational anglers will only see a one-day increase in the snapper season in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
There are several factors involved in the setting of the private recreational season at 10 days. The private recreational red snapper season starts June 1 and ends at 12:01 a.m. on June 11.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division (MRD) announced Thursday that Alabama’s waters will open for the recreational harvest of red snapper and gray triggerfish from July 1-31, 2015. Alabama state waters will also be open for red snapper harvest during the federal season June 1-10, 2015. The daily bag limit will be two red snapper per person and two gray triggerfish per person. The minimum size for red snapper will be 16 inches total length, and the minimum size for gray triggerfish will be 14-inch fork length. Federal waters remain closed to private recreational anglers for red snapper and gray triggerfish harvest during the July season.
Off the coast of Alabama is the largest artificial reef system in the country, maybe the world. The next addition to this water wonderland for fish could come from right here in Gulf Shores. A new one and a half million dollar project by the state marine resources division being built along the intracoastal waterway
“We acquired the 12 acres next to property we already owned so we could have waterfront access where we could take appropriate materials off shore or inshore to build artificial reefs,” says chief biologist for Alabama Marine Resources, Kevin Anson.
Once again, there will be a very limited amount of time you can reel in a red snapper in 2015.
The season starts on June 1 and for recreational anglers there is only a 10-day season. New this year though, charter boats have been separated from the weekend warriors and captains can take clients out for 44 days.
So why another short season? NOAA fisheries says the population of fish is rebounding, but the snapper are still young, under 10-years old, and need to be given time to age for a healthy fishery. Older fish produce more eggs. For instance, a 10-year-old red snapper produces 33x more eggs than a 3-year-old.
N.O.A.A. has extended the season the red snapper fishing season, but not by much.
The federal agency added only one day for private anglers, making the season for them 10 days.
Meantime, charter boat captains will get 44 days of red snapper fishing.
The federal government on Friday formally set a Gulf of Mexico red snapper season that for the first time separates charter boats from anglers who fish with their own vessels.
Under rules set by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration’s Fisheries Division, which government officials first announced Thursday, the red snapper season in federal waters will open at 12:01 a.m. June 1. Charter boat captains with federal licenses will have a 44-day season lasting until 12:01 a.m. on July 15. Private anglers will be limited to 10 days, ending at 12:01 a.m. on June 11.
WASHINGTON, DC – Thursday, April 30, 2015 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS), today released a statement following the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announcement outlining the 2015 red snapper season length for recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico:
“NOAA’s red snapper season announcement today is deeply disappointing. While the decision to increase the number of days for charter boats to fish is a step in the right direction, limiting private anglers to only 10 days this year is completely unacceptable.
A proposal to reform red snapper regulations in the Gulf of Mexico will go before a U.S. House committee next week, but its sponsor says there is little chance of it having an impact on the private recreational fishing season this year.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, said Friday that his reform language aimed at extending the private recreational red snapper season will be up for consideration within the larger reauthorization consideration for the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the federal law regulating marine fisheries management in the U.S.
The man o’ war have arrived. They aren’t keeping folks off the beach or out of the water but if you’re not familiar with them they could ruin your day at the beach.
All the colors of an almost perfect beach day. Blue skies, aquamarine water, white sand and purple flags. Those flags warn of dangerous marine life in the area and in this case it’s Portuguese man o’ war.
The battle continues to rage over red snapper in the Gulf. The latest management plan for red snapper has created even more controversy.
Amendment 40 was approved by the Gulf Fishery Management Council back in October. Wednesday, the Coastal Conservation Association filed a lawsuit hoping to have it reversed.
The CCA says the plan, also known as “sector separation” takes a significant percentage of the catch quota for recreational fishermen, and gives it to the charter boat industry. The CCA says with passage of Amendment 40, the way is cleared for up to 70 percent of the entire red snapper fishery to be privately held.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Louisiana.
ORANGE BEACH, AL (WALA) -
If you head down to any of the Baldwin County public beaches you’ll see purple flags flying. Those were put up Tuesday. Beach Safety officials in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are warning beach goers of a danger in the water.
Nothing can ruin a fun day at the beach more than an encounter with a Portuguese Man ‘O War. Beach safety officials in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach raised a purple flag over their beaches Tuesday because of them.
Chris Blankenship, 44, wears many hats when it comes to fish. As the director of the Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources since 2010, Blankenship oversees the management of the state’s marine fishery resources through research, enforcement and education.
Mobile will be the site of an unusual underwater competition for students this weekend.
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is sponsoring its third annual competition for underwater robots beginning Friday.
Student teams have been working for a year to design, build and test their own remotely operated underwater vehicles.
Last week, many schools in Alabama were on Spring Break and people flocked to the Gulf Coast. Spring Break always serves as a preview of the crowds we will see once we get into the summer months. Whether it is a local restaurant in Atmore, a gas station in Monroeville, or a hotel in Gulf Shores, each of our communities benefit in some way from tourism.
That’s why it is so important that our coastal communities are not unnecessarily restricted by federal policies. I’ve worked hard to support our coastal economies, including my vote for legislation to reform the flood insurance program and joining the bipartisan Coastal Communities Caucus.
Thousands of Gulf Coast residents had their lives turned upside down when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded nearly five years ago, killing 11 rig workers and spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days.
For most people, things have returned to normal. But for some of them there is no normal anymore. Their lives, for better or for worse, changed completely on April 20, 2010.
Count among those Bethany Kraft, now the director of the Gulf Restoration Program at Ocean Conservancy, a nationwide environmental group.
The conservation group Oceana is suing the federal government for more protections for endangered sea turtles.
Oceana claims the National Marine Fisheries Service is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to keep sea turtles from dying in shrimp nets.
The group wants the federal government set a limit on the number of sea turtles that can be legally killed each year.
Five years after the largest oil spill in U.S. history, the Gulf of Mexico is showing “encouraging” signs of resiliency, according to one research institute working in the Gulf.
“The state of the Gulf five years after the spill is encouraging,” said Larry McKinney, executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, in a video news release. “It seems to have snapped back from that really horrible incident.”
Even as members of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council discuss the mind-numbing minutiae of red snapper management at a meeting this week in Biloxi, other talks a thousand miles away may determine its real long-term future.
Alabama Marine Resources Director Chris Blankenship said he has made three trips to Washington D.C. since December, accompanied by Conservation Commissioner Gunter Guy once, to convince lawmakers that Gulf states can better manage the popular game fish to the greatest benefit of the species and all user groups that rely on it for commercial and recreational purposes.
If successful, their efforts will take the Gulf Council out of the red-snapper m