Local fishermen protest short red snapper season

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By Renee Dials, FOX10 News Anchor

The red snapper season ended Saturday, but recreational anglers were back on the water Sunday in Orange Beach to protest.

The fishermen are hoping to send a message all the way to Washington, and they have the support of local leaders.

Gulf Coast fishermen lined their boats up at Perdido Pass in Orange Beach Sunday morning [June 4] to protest the shortest red snapper fishing season in history.

The government cut the season for recreational anglers to just three days this year. However, commercial charter boats are allowed 49 days of fishing for the region’s most popular catch.

Orange Beach city council member Jeff Boyd said it's not fair.

"This fuss is saying hey, make this fair. If we're both going to be recreational, then make this a fair playing field," Boyd said.

Boyd and other city leaders including Mayor Tony Kennon didn't participate in the protest, but they came out to let the protestors know they support them.

The government regulations limiting the number of catches, and shortening the season for some are intended to protect the fish. But, Kennon said the largest artificial reef in the world is right off the Alabama coast.

"We created a crop of fish, we're ready to harvest our fish, we protect our crop, and not the feds say no there's no fish out there for you to have, or there's not enough. It's just silly, it's really silly," Mayor Kennon said.

Kennon said the restrictions come from Washington, and that's where they will have to be changed.

"President Trump made certain promises of about getting rid of regulations. Well, this is a great place to start," he said.

"We've made some noise, so they know. Wilber Ross was on hearing the other day, and he's the director of Commerce. He was questioned on this and addressed the issue. He didn't really give an answer then, but I do think we're going to s see something happen this year to maybe give us some more weekends," Boyd said.

Other protests were organized in Florida and Mississippi.

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