The season opener for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters is March 1, which marks the first season that reporting of triggerfish and greater amberjack becomes mandatory in the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting (Snapper Check) System.

The gray triggerfish limit is one per person with a minimum size of 15 inches fork length. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has set a quota for the Gulf of Mexico at 305,300 pounds, and the triggerfish season is set to close on May 31 or when NMFS determines the quota has been met. Federal management of gray triggerfish is through the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC), an advisory body to NMFS.

“Triggerfish and greater amberjack are very valuable species to the state of Alabama, similar to red snapper,” said Scott Bannon, Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD). “We have funded a fisheries-independent study through the University of South Alabama and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab to estimate the number of key reef fish living near artificial reefs and natural habitats off of Alabama. For red snapper, we added the harvest estimates for charter and private anglers from Snapper Check to commercial landings and compared the total harvest to the estimate from the habitat study. The comparison has shown that harvests are considered sustainable.”

Although the GMFMC recommended to NMFS an increase in the gray triggerfish quota to 456,900 pounds last month, Bannon said gray triggerfish and greater amberjack have been species of concern for the Gulf Council. Mandatory reporting of these two fish through Snapper Check will provide additional data for the management of the species. The greater amberjack season is tentatively scheduled to open May 1, but NMFS has not determined how many amberjack were caught during the August-October 2020 season and whether any quota is

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