Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced that qualified holders of an Alabama Commercial Freshwater Fishing License for fiscal year 2016-17 are eligible to participate in a drawing for an Alabama River Paddlefish Management Area Commercial Paddlefish Harvester Permit for the 2018 paddlefish harvest season.
ADC&NR Fisheries Section said that residents of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois who are licensed to harvest paddlefish in their state of residence are also eligible to participate in the season, which is proposed to run the entirety of February 2018.
The Conservation Department says that in order to be included in the permit drawing, an entry form must be received by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on Nov. 15, 2017. While there is no entry fee to participate in the drawing, individuals who are randomly drawn will be provided with instructions on how to purchase their paddlefish harvester permit.
For more information about the proposed 2018 paddlefish harvest season including a downloadable entry form, license holder qualifications, regulations, limitations and fees, visit: www.outdooralabama.com/2018-al-commercial-paddlefish-harvest
or you can call the WFF Fisheries Section at 334-242-3471
Paddlefish are little changed from when they first appear in fossil record 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period in the age of the dinosaurs. There are only four species of paddlefish known to have ever existed. Two are known only in the fossil record. The Chinese paddlefish is critically endangered and has not been seen since 2007. The species here in Alabama is the American paddlefish. Paddlefish are very susceptible to overfishing and don’t do well in river systems with dams, pollution, and human encroachment. Paddlefish were once very common and were heavily commercially fished. American paddlefish can reach five feet in length and weigh 60 pounds. The Chinese paddlefish is much bigger, they routinely reached ten feet in length and the biggest specimen on record was 23 feet long and weighed over a ton. The American paddlefish is a filter feeder and has a broad paddle-like snout with a long scale-less body.
Alabama has numerous rivers and lakes and fishing is a very popular sport in Alabama.