Fish and Wildlife Agency Changing Some Fishing Rules
By TB Reporter
Bass, grouper and red snapper are among the species affected.
Several changes in regulations for bass, black grouper and gag grouper were made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at its meeting earlier this month.
Anglers will be allowed to keep smaller, more abundant largemouth bass. Length limits for black bass species will be changed and many specific rules for different water bodies will be eliminated.
“The intent is to simplify existing rules and increase abundance of larger bass statewide,” said Tom Champeau, director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.
After July 1, the new bass rule will eliminate the three zones that currently regulate bass harvest along with 42 site-specific regulations for largemouth bass. This simplification has been a long-standing desire of anglers and resource managers.
Meanwhile, the FWC also approved changes to the gag and black grouper minimum size limit and the gag grouper recreational season in Gulf state waters.
The approvals include:
- Setting a 24-inch total length minimum size limit for recreational harvest of gag and black grouper in Gulf state waters.
- Setting a June 1 through Dec. 31 recreational season for gag grouper in all state waters of the Gulf excluding Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties (which have their own season from April 1-June 30) and excluding Monroe County (Monroe County follows the Atlantic state season).
These changes are similar to recent changes pending in Gulf federal waters. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles. Federal waters begin where state waters end and extend to 200 nautical miles.
These changes are expected to go into effect prior to June 1 recreational season opening and will be announced on MyFWC.com and via a press release.
Learn more about Gulf grouper at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”
Also, the FWC is considering changes to the 2016 Gulf recreational red snapper season.
The newly proposed season would be open Saturdays and Sundays in May starting May 7. On May 28, the season would open continuously through July 10. Finally, the season would reopen for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day. This would provide for a 78-day season in Gulf state waters.
Florida | Recreation | Fishing | Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission | Rule Changes | TB Reporter
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