BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Anglers from across the Gulf Coast are hitting federal waters as the recently approved Fall red snapper season kicks into high gear.
The 14-day season was approved by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council after 2013's regular season became the shortest ever due to federal regulations.
The typical 180 day season was cut down to 28 days. With an extra 14 days, Gulf Coast fishermen are trying to make the best of it.
However, with the tropical disturbance looking to bring rough weather for more than a week, anglers are racing against the clock.
Charter captain Jeff Colley said the conditions caused him to cut his first trip short.
"It has everybody worried. We've been working for two months to book these trips. You have everybody coming down here on vacation or taking vacation to catch red snapper. Now we may lose days because of the weather," said Colley.
Colley said getting an early jump on the allowed 14 days is now more important than ever, but the weather could threaten those whose livelihoods are already hurt.
"If it comes in here, it'll be terrible. Everyone depends on the two week season to make a living. It will hurt the condos, the small stores and big stores. It will hurt everyone. If we have a storm, hopefully the government will grant us more days after it's over," Colley said.
Fishermen told FOX10 one of the reasons they're upset that the government is cutting back on the number of fishing days is that the data they're using doesn't take into account artificial reefs.
Fishermen said artificial reefs are where 95 percent of red snapper exist on the Gulf Coast.
Captain Hollywood, former charter boat captain, said something needs to be done.
"Even though they're giving them 14 more days, the people just aren't coming back. There are more boats sitting there than there are out fishing. It's just sad," said Hollywood.
Colley said fishermen aren't giving up.
"If they could just give us a three month season, everybody down here would be happy. We could survive on three months. We're pushing for that and we're hoping," Colley said.
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