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Minimum Sizes & Regulations

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Recreational Size and Creel Limits for Ala. State Waters
(Includes inshore waters and Gulf Waters out to 3 miles offshore)

Updated August 31, 2005

SPECIES

SIZE LIMIT

DAILY CREEL LIMIT

Spotted Seatrout*

14" min. TL

10 per person

Red Drum** 16" min. - 26" max 3 per person
Cobia (Ling) 33" min. FL 2 per person
King Mackerel 24" min. FL 2 per person
Spanish Mackerel no size limit 15 per person
Florida Pompano 12" min. TL 3 per person
Gag Grouper*** 22" min TL ***Grouper Aggregate
Red Grouper*** 20" min TL ***Only 2 Red groupers are allowed in the 5 fish Grouper Aggregate
Black Grouper*** 22" min TL ***Grouper Aggregate
Yellowfin Grouper*** 20" min TL ***Grouper Aggregate
Scamp*** 16" min TL ***Grouper Aggregate
Greater Amberjack 28" min FL 1 per person
Striped Bass**** 16" min TL 2 per person
Gray Triggerfish 12" min TL Reef fish aggregate*****
Flounder 12" min TL No creel limit
Tripletail (Blackfish) 16" min TL 3 per person
Lesser Amberjack 14" - 22" FL No Creel Limit
Banded Rudderfish 14" - 22" FL No Creel Limit
Yellowfin Tuna 27" min CFL No Creel Limit
Bigeye Tuna 27" min CFL No Creel Limit

* Spotted Seatrout (speckled trout) - no undersized fish allowed.
** Red Drum (redfish) - 1 fish may exceed maximum size.
*** Mixed species grouper aggregate creel limit (including Gag): 5 per person
**** Only two Striped Bass are allowed within MRD Jurisdiction.
***** There is a twenty (20) fish aggregate creel limit for reef fish species for which there is no other bag limit. (for example, grunts, porgies, gray triggerfish, beeliner, Lane snapper, etc).

The recreational red snapper fishery operates under a 4.47 million pound quota (unchanged since 1996).  The recreational red snapper season is open continuously from April 21 through October 31 of each year. Based on NMFS projections, this is the amount of time in which the recreational quota will be filled under a 4-fish creel limit and 16 inch total length minimum size limit.

Red Snapper 16" TL 4 per person
Vermillon Snapper (beeliner) 10" TL Reef fish aggregate*****
Lane 8" TL Reef Fish aggregate*****
Gray (mangrove, black) 12" TL 10 per person

Tarpon

60" TL

$50.00 tag required to possess, kill or harvest each tarpon.

Sharks
Atlantic Sharpnose none 2 per person per day
All Other Shark Species 54" min FL 1 per person per day

Alabama has instituted new regulations pertaining to the harvest of shark species for commercial and recreational purposes. Click here for info provided to aid anglers in the identification of common species of sharks which may occur in Alabama's coastal waters.

Prohibited Species: Goliath grouper (jewfish), Nassau grouper, Atlantic angel shark, Bigeye thresher, Dusky, Longfin mako, Sand tiger, Basking, Whale, White, Nurse, Smalltail, Smalltooth sawfish, Largetooth sawfish, Spotted eagle ray, Atlantic manta.
All fishing regulations are subject to change. Check with the AL Marine Resources Division before going fishing.

Mississippi and Florida also require saltwater fishing licenses. Florida's state waters extend 9 miles from the coastline. You can be fined for straying into another state's waters with fish caught in Alabama or federal waters.


State waters extend into the Gulf of Mexico 3 miles south of Alabama's coastline from Florida almost due west along the Fort Morgan peninsula and Dauphin Island to Mississippi; however, the line bulges southward 3 miles from Sand Island. A rule of thumb leaving Mobile Bay: if you are south of the Farewell Buoy, you are in federal waters.

Fish Measurement
Catch and Release Techniques


The following methods should be used to determine the length of a fish:
  • Place fish on a flat surface with jaw closed.
  • For Total Length (TL), squeeze tail together or turn it in such a way to obtain longest length at tip of tail.
  • For Fork Length (FL), measure in a straight line from the tip of snout to the deepest notch in tail.
  • For Curved Fork Length (CFL), measure with a flexible rule from the tip of the upper jaw to the deepest notch in tail. This measurement is used for Tuna species only.
 
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