Tags: Gun Control | fishing | alabama | nongame | endangered | protected species

Fishing in Alabama: 7 Aquatic Animals Designated Nongame, Endangered, and Protected Species

By    |   Thursday, 31 Mar 2016 07:55 PM

While Alabama is known for its fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities, anglers need to keep abreast of protected aquatic species when on the water.

Failure to do so may put an angler in violation of Alabama or United States law and have a detrimental impact on the ecosystem.

Here's a look at seven species protected from fishing in Alabama.

1. Alabama Sturgeon

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first listed the Alabama sturgeon as an "endangered" species in 2000. The fish was once widespread in the Mobile River Basin, but was commercially fished in abundance, making it a rare find today.

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The endangered listing is an attempt to protect the remaining Alabama sturgeon from anglers.

2. Spring Pygmy Sunfish

This species is only found in two areas in Alabama and are unique to the state. Spring Pygmy sunfish are listed as a federally "threatened" species. Urban sprawl endangers the current remaining population of the Spring Pygmy sunfish.

3. Blue Shiner

The blue shiner, or minnow, is listed as a "threatened" species by the USFWS. The blue shiner had in found in parts of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists the blue shiner "as Endangered because area of occupancy is probably less than 500 square kilometers, the distribution is severely fragmented, the species occurs in a small number of locations (fewer than six have good viability), and distribution, abundance, and habitat quality are subject to ongoing declines."

4. Spotfin Chub

The spotfin chub is listed as a "threatened" species by the USFWS. Habitats have been lost for the chub and despite restoration efforts the fish struggles to regain its once abundant numbers.

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The chub is found in upland habitats of the Tennessee River drainage in Alabama.

5. Shoal Bass

The shoal bass is a protected species and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources requires the fish to be returned unharmed, if caught.

The shoal bass is often confused with the redeye bass, so anglers should pay close attention to their lines, says the Alabama DCNR.

6. Suckermouth Minnow

This minnow is a rare find in Alabama. The last recorded capture of the fish was in 1993 after more than 30 years without one sighting being reported.

They are considered a bottom-dwelling species that not much is known about.

7. Gulf Sturgeon

Gulf sturgeon can be found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats. The fish, which ranges from 7 to 10 feet in length, lives in saltwater, but spawns in the spring in freshwater.

They were federally listed as "protected" in 1991. The state of Alabama also has its own restrictions to protect the sturgeon.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before fishing.

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While Alabama is known for its many fishing opportunities, anglers need to keep abreast of protected species when on the water. Failure to do so may put an angler in violation of the law and have a detrimental impact on the ecosystem. Here's a look at seven species protected from fishing in Alabama.
fishing, alabama, nongame, endangered, protected species
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2016-55-31
Thursday, 31 Mar 2016 07:55 PM
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