Information from FWC
FWC UPDATE — Notes on Fishing Rules and other announcements
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (a/k/a FWC) keeps us up to date on changes that fishermen (cruising-fishermen included) should know, and other items of interest to boating people. As the audience is somewhat varied, we give a quick note on the news and suggest that those interested in specific topics check it all out at the FWC web site.
There's also info on boating, parks, ramps, etc., etc. and we'll hope to include news on anything we think you'll want to know about.
FWC's web site is www.MyFWC.com.
FWC Announces Angler Action Alliance
The Snook & Gamefish Foundation (SGF) has announced a partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Gause-Built Boats and West Marine. They’ve joined forces to encourage anglers to participate in fishery data collection. Representatives we spoke with at the Miami Boat Show assured us that the reporting program was not just for the “serious” angler or tournament participants, but for everyone who puts a line in the water at any time. They would appreciate a report even if you DON’T catch anything, as this info will be helpful also.
Anglers are invited to join SFG and participate in Angler Action by logging their fishing activities. In exchange for membership and Angler Action participation, anglers will receive a raffle ticket for a Gause Built skiff, complete with a Yamaha outboard and trailer, valued at more than $40,000.
The Gause skiff and information about Angler Action will be featured at select West Marine stores in Florida throughout the year and West Marine is providing reusable logging sheets for angler use.
SGF in partnership with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has seen steady growth of anglers participating in Angler Action as well as increased data applications. The goal of the Angler Action program is to assure the highest degree of trust and accuracy in data collected by anglers for the purposes of fishery research, assessment and management.
See www.snookfoundation.org for more details regarding the boat giveaway, or call Snook & Gamefish Foundation at (407) 302-5550.
MORE PROTECTION for Hammerheads, Tiger Sharks.
**NEW** Shark Management Changes:
The FWC Commissioners passed a rule that prohibits the recreational and commercial harvest of tiger sharks and great, scalloped andsmooth hammerhead sharks
from state waters at the Nov. 16, 2011, meeting. The rule took effect
January 1, 2012.
Anglers may catch and release prohibited shark species in state waters.
Anglers may also catch and take some species of shark in federal waters and land them in Florida but boats traveling through state waters carrying shark must not stop in state waters until the fish are landed.
REPEATING IN MARCH SNOOK SEASON HAS REOPENED ON ATLANTIC COAST ONLY
Recreational harvest season for snook reopened on Feb. 1 in Florida's Atlantic Coastal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River.
Anglers may keep one snook between 28 and 32 inches total length per day in the allowable harvest areas only. Fishermen targeting snook must have a snook permit as well as a saltwater license unless they are exempt from having a license.
Snook season remains closed in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters through Aug. 31, 2012 (Catch and release is allowed during the closure and anglers are encouraged to handle and release them carefully to help ensure their survival.
Click HERE for more information on snook.
The following is from release dated December 20, 2011, updated and expanded with January 26 release.
REPEATING w/UPDATE IN MARCH.
GULF GROUPER RECREATIONAL SEASON CLOSED FEB. 1
Several species of grouper, including black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind will close to recreational harvest from Feb. 1 through March 31 in Gulf of Mexico state waters excluding Monroe County.
Gag grouper, which has been closed in Gulf state waters since Nov. 16, 2011, is also included in the seasonal closure through March 31. The gag grouper population is considered too low, and too many are being caught for the population to be sustainable.
Federal fishery managers are working to rebuild the gag grouper population. Changes in federal management efforts include setting the gag grouper recreational harvest season from July 1 to Oct. 31, although the new management changes will not be implemented until the final rule is printed in the Federal Register. FWC Commissioners, at their February Commission meeting in Havana, will consider whether to adopt similar standards for Gulf of Mexico state waters. (We have not received Press Releases as of February 27 in time for this update.)
The two-month recreational harvest closure of all eight grouper species, often referred to as shallow-water grouper, is also intended to help rebuild the gag grouper fishery. Gag grouper spawn during the February and March closure, so limiting the harvest of other grouper helps reduce the number of gag grouper that are caught unintentionally and die after being released.
More information regarding grouper fishing regulations, including the current grouper closure in Atlantic and Monroe County waters, is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing. Visit MyFWC.com/Commission to learn more about the February Commission meeting. (Press Releases from February meeting have not been received as of February 27.)
RED DRUM & SPOTTED SEATROUT MANAGEMENT CHANGES
The following is from earlier releases updated and expanded January 27, 2012.
REPEATING IN MARCH 2012: RED DRUM MANAGEMENT PROMPTS FWC TO UP BAG LIMIT
At the Key Largo meeting, FWC approved the following changes to take effect Feb. 1, 2012.
- Create three management areas for red drum instead of one statewide management area;
- Increase the number of red drum that a recreational fisherman can take per day in the northeast and northwest regions of the state from one to two red drum;
- Establish a statewide vessel limit of eight red drum and
- Limit the number of red drum that can be transported on land to six red drum per person.
For more information, click HERE.
REPEATING IN MARCH. SEATROUT MANAGEMENT EFFORTS CHANGED FEBRUARY 1.
The recreational harvest season for spotted seatrout in southern Florida reopened on January 1. Other management changes took effect February 1. These changes include
- redefining the areas where spotted seatrout are managed by splitting the state info four management zones instead of three.
- The recreational season will be open year-round (includes the removal of the February closures in northern Florida and the November through December closure in southern Florida;
- Raising the recreational bag limit in Northeast Florida from five to six;
- Changing commercial seasons based on region - lengthening them from three to five months in the Northwest and Southwest zones
(June 1 - Oct. 31 for both) and in the Southeast region (May 1 - Sept. 30) and from three months to six months in the northeast zone
(June 1 - Nov. 30);
- Allowing spotted seatrout to be sold 30 days after the close of the regional commercial season with the proper paperwork;
- Changing the commercial vessel limit to 150 when there are two commercially licensed fishermen aboard. Both species' rule changes are the result of a successful management strategy.
Use these links to learn more about red drum and spotted seatrout recreational fishing. Maps appear on the FWC site re: the areas for both species.
Visit MyFWC.com for more information on all of the above.
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