FWC UPDATENotes 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 information 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.

New for this update:

ANCHORING

We've been advised that the City of St. Augustine has been chosen to join St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Monroe County (Florida Keys) in the ANCHORING PILOT PROGRAM being studied by FWC's Boats & Waterways office. The fifth (and final) area - expected to be either Miami or Stuart - was supposed to be announced by July 1 at the latest. As of June 30, we' had not yet heard the news.

For more, see ABOUT ANCHORING in the current print FCD - What's Happening, page 4 - or [HERE].

ANGLERS' HELP ASKED

FWC is requesting angler assistance with a research project focusing on red snapper caught in Florida offshore waters. This project will provide fisheries researchers and managers with vital catch-and-release survival information needed for assessing the status of this important recreational fishery.

Anglers will be approached by the biologists at public areas along the Gulf Coast of Florida (boat ramps, fishing piers and marinas) to request participation in the study. Anyone fishing for red snapper in Florida can also request a postage-paid survey card in the mail by e-mailing name and address to FishStats@MyFWC.com. To download a data sheet, click HERE.

That same area of the web site has details on reporting tagged fish to the Angler Tag Return Hotline at 800-367-4461.

FWC SEEKS INPUT ON POSSIBLE MANAGEMENT CHANGE TO SPOTTED SEATROUT, SHARKS.

FWC has been holding workshops during June (notice arrived  too late for us to include in June NEWS)  and call-in workshops will be held for those interested and unable to attend the June meetings in person.

For SHARKS: Thursday, July 7 - 6 to 8 PM EDT (5 - 7 CDT) and

for SPOTTED SEATROUT, Tuesday, July 12 from 6 to 8 PM EDT (5 - 7 CDT).

To register for either one of the call-in workshops call the FWC using the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-9771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice).

For more information on FWC's management of spotted seatrout and sharks click HERE.

REPEATING IN JULY: Scallop season started a week early (June 25) and ends two weeks later than normal on September 25.

REPEATING IN JULY: FWC's 2-day meeting early in April approved rules for bonefish protection by eliminating the one-fish daily recreational bag limit, changing to catch-and-release only, changing to hook and line gear only, allowing photographs to document possible record catches; creating tournament exemption permits for weigh-ins and strengthening provisions prohibiting the sale of bonefish. Rules take effect July 1.

Other items announced from the meeting include:

Conditional Gulf Amberjack recreational two-month closure scheduled for Gulf of Mexico state waters depending on approval of same recreational season in federal waters.

Conditional changes to Stone Crab protection rules will be discussed at a public  hearing to be held in June.

Permit rules changes have also been proposed.

Two-Day St. Augustine meeting brought about changes:

MORE PROTECTION TO PERMIT approved with rule amendments; also strengthening management of Florida pompano and African pompano fisheries. 

Atlantic Snook harvest season to reopen soon (September 1); other areas remain catch-and-release. More at web site.

Gulf Red Snapper recreational season has been set for June 1 through July 18. (from June 9 press release)

BLACK BASS MANAGEMENT PLAN APPROVED

A long-term Black Bass Management Plan to ensure Florida is the Black Bass Fishing Capital of the World has been approved. Overall plan and goals at MyFWC.com/Fishing.

OCALA OUTDOOR ADVENTURE CAMP

REPEATING IN JULY: FWC's summertime camps for boys and girls ages 9 to 15 will be held again this year in the Ocala National Forest. Registration is underway. The camp focuses on fish and wildlife conservation, outdoor skills and firearm safety. Six one-week sessions began June 19.  For more information or to register go to www.OcalaAventureCamp.com or call 352-525-2804.

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