FWC’s monthly newsletter for August, Fishing in the Know, is available for viewing
The August 2016 issue of the Fishing in the Know
newsletter from FWC is available now. To view and/or download a copy of the newsletter, click here
Lionfish Challenge has removed nearly 10,000 lionfish
A total of 9,216 lionfish have been removed from Florida waters so far thanks to participants in the Lionfish Challenge. Since the May 14 kickoff, 68 divers have entered the statewide Lionfish Challenge, which rewards divers for taking 50 or more lionfish.
Mutton Snapper Workshops
FWC is hosting several mutton snapper workshops this August to gather public input on potential management changes in state waters. FWC staff presented draft rules to the Commission at the June meeting and these rules will be brought back before the Commission for a final public hearing at the September meeting in St. Augustine.
Proposed rule changes to be discussed include:
- increasing the recreational, commercial, importation and sale minimum size limit from 16 to 18 inches total length;
- reducing the recreational bag limit from 10 to 3 fish per person within the 10-fish snapper aggregate bag limit;
- replacing the May – June commercial trip limit in all state waters with a 3-fish per person, per day limit from April – June in Atlantic state waters only; and
- establishing a 500-pound commercial trip limit for the remainder of the year (July-March) in Atlantic state waters
For more information on the workshops, click here.
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Snook population is on the rise
FWC took immediate action to help the snook population rebound after a prolonged cold spell in January 2010. The cold snap, which led FWC to close the fisheries, had a much greater effect on the snook population on the Gulf Coast than it did on the Atlantic Coast. The Atlantic fishery was closed for nine months while the Gulf fishery remained closed until September 2013.
The latest stock assessment shows that catch rates for the snook populations have returned to pre-cold event levels. The quick recovery demonstrates that FWC’s conservative management strategies resulted in abundant snook populations prior to the cold snap and that this large biomass was useful in population resilience. During the closure, spawning occurred without the threat of fishing mortality. As a result the number of young snook multiplied and adult snook grew larger.
FWC manages snook in the Gulf differently than it does snook in the Atlantic because of their genetic differences and separate life history patterns. Snook from the Gulf typically inhabit a single estuary for their entire lives, while snook from the Atlantic migrate much greater distances. Snook species found in Florida are located at the northern limit of their thermal range. They can experience thermal stress when water temperatures decline in the winter months.
For more information on snook, click here and here.
FWC Angler Recognition Programs
FWC’s Saltwater Grand Slam program is conducted in collaboration with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). A Saltwater Grand Slam is defined as the catch or catching and releasing of three different species in a 24-hour period. All Saltwater Grand Slam catches, past and present, are eligible as long as they can be documented and have been caught in a 24-hour period and in accordance with FWC and IGFA rules. Anglers do not have to harvest their fish to be eligible, and are strongly encouraged to release their catches alive.
Photographs are required and may be used in various FWC publications as well as MyFWC.com. Fill out the application and mail with photos to: IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum, 300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004 or email: HQ@igfa.org.
Each time an angler gets a Saltwater Grand Slam, they will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a t-shirt with the fish from that slam on it. There will be eight slams plus a Small Fry Slam for children 15 and under.
For more information on the various grand slam categories, click here.
Tagged cobia in Florida waters
A cobia tagging project is underway along Florida’s east coast. Scientists with FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute are tagging cobia in order to track movement of the fish to learn more about the migration of the Gulf and Atlantic stocks. Researchers are using conventional dart tags and implanted acoustic transmitters to track mature fish. An array of acoustic receivers along the coast can detect the individual fish when they swim nearby. The movement patterns will provide more information to management to make informed decisions on the stocks and to provide a geographical location of the biological stock boundary.
A total of 150 transmitters (50 each in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina) will be used for the one-year study. The transmitters will last for up to four years allowing researchers to continue collecting information after the initial report is complete.
Cobia is a popular saltwater recreational fishery in the southeastern United States due to its ease of access, brute fighting strength and excellent culinary qualities. Although it is not illegal, scientists discourage the harvest of tagged cobia. If you catch a tagged cobia (two plastic tags should be visible on the back of the fish, one on each side) record the tag number, fork length, date and general location of the catch. Release the fish in good condition, and report it by calling 888-824-7472.
For more information on the tagging project, click here.
STATE CLOSURES and OPENINGS
Atlantic snook closed in state and federal waters on June 1, 2016
The recreational harvest of snook in Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, closed on June 1 and will reopen on Sept 1. Snook can be caught and released during the closed season.
For more information, click here.
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New state permit allows mackerel tournaments to donate catch to benefit charity
With just a no-cost permit, mackerel tournament directors can donate tournament-caught king and Spanish mackerel to a licensed wholesale dealer in exchange for a donation to the charity of the tournament’s choice. While this activity has traditionally occurred at mackerel tournaments in Florida, recent federal regulation changes prohibited the activity unless a state permit was issued.
In addition to helping tournaments raise funds for charity, this permit will help minimize waste of tournament-caught king and Spanish mackerel that otherwise may not have been eaten. FWC approved the creation of this permit at its June 2015 meeting in Sarasota.
Donated fish can be caught in state or federal waters and would have to be handled and iced in accordance with seafood safety standards. Wholesale dealers must be onsite during the weigh-in to obtain the tournament-caught fish. The fish would also have to be identified as tournament catch on commercial trip tickets.
This permit will ensure that tournament-caught fish are not counted toward both the recreational and commercial fishing quotas. Although fish are recreationally caught, they enter the commercial market once donated to a wholesale dealer. Preventing these fish from being double-counted in both the recreational and commercial fishing quotas ensures more accurate landings data and prevents possible negative impacts to the commercial fishery, such as early season closures.
For more information or to apply for a permit, click here.
Discarded monofilament line injures and kills wildlife
Fishing is an important part of the Florida lifestyle as well as its economy. To ensure that this activity doesn’t lead to problems for birds and other wildlife, the FWC wants anglers to know about the potential hazards and sure-fire solutions. FWC warns that monofilament fishing line and fishing hooks can snag and entangle birds, sea turtles and manatees, leading to injury and even death.
For more information on the statewide Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program, click here.