MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The federal government has approved a system developed by the state of Alabama to count the number of red snapper caught in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gulf states, fishing groups and the NOAA Fisheries have disagreed for years about how many snapper can be caught. The decision means Alabama’s numbers can be used in the federal count.
The state’s Marine Resources director, Scott Bannon, says anglers are frustrated with short snapper seasons. He says the federal decision is a “huge step” toward managing gulf waters.
The state developed the Snapper Check program in 2014. It uses a combination of electronic reporting by anglers and dockside checks to verify the number of snapper that boats are keeping.
NOAA Fisheries says it will work with the state to further implement the program.