Snook Symposium scheduled Jan 13, 2016
FWC is hosting a public discussion about snook research and management in Florida, including the results of the soon-to-be-released 2015 stock assessment, population recovery following the 2010 cold kill, and opportunities for improving snook management.
- When = January 13, 2016
- Where = Caribe Royale, 8101 World Center Drive in Orlando
- Click here for Symposium information
Stone crab season opened in State and Federal waters on Oct 15, 2015
Florida’s recreational stone crab claw harvest season opened Oct 15 in State and Federal waters. To be harvested, stone crab claws must be at least 2¾ inches in length when measured from the elbow to the tip of the lower immovable portion of the claw (see illustration). Harvesters are encouraged to take only one claw, even if both claws are of legal size, so that the released crab will be better able to defend itself from predators. A crab that is returned to the water with one claw intact will be able to obtain more food in a shorter amount of time and therefore regrow its claw faster. There is a recreational daily bag limit of 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less.
The season will be open through May 15, 2016, closing May 16. Stone crab regulations are the same in State and Federal waters.
For more information on the recreational harvest of stone crabs, click here.
FWC approves barracuda conservation measures for south Florida
FWC approved new recreational and commercial bag limits for barracuda for waters off south Florida. The changes will apply in state and federal waters off Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties only, and will include a:
- Recreational and commercial daily bag limit of two fish per person and
- Recreational and commercial daily vessel limit of six fish per vessel.
These new limits went into effect Nov 1, 2015.
Stakeholders in southeast Florida and the Florida Keys have voiced concerns about declining barracuda numbers observed when fishing and diving. FWC staff gathered public input from concerned stakeholders at workshops conducted earlier this year. The FWC is responding to these concerns by creating bag limits to prevent further declines and conserve barracuda in the region.
The original proposal also included barracuda size limits, however the FWC wants to gather more input from stakeholders before creating additional limits. FWC staff will conduct another series of workshops in south Florida to gather more public input before considering any additional management measures.
Click here for more information.
The recreational harvest of snook in Atlantic state and federal waters opened on Sept 1, 2015
Snook will reopen for harvest in Atlantic state and federal waters on Sept 1, 2015. Snook is also closed for harvest in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County, through Aug 31, but reopening Sept 1. Click here to view more information.
UPDATE: Gray triggerfish size limit changes in Atlantic state waters effective Nov 21, 2015
At its Nov 18 meeting in Panama City Beach, FWC approved changes to the gray triggerfish size and bag limits in Atlantic state waters.
The approvals include:
- In Atlantic state waters – changing the recreational minimum size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length and creating a 10-fish recreational bag limit
- Statewide – changing the sale and import size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length
These changes make Atlantic state water regulations inconsistent with the minimum size requirement (14″) for triggerfish in Atlantic federal waters. These changes will go into effect on Saturday, Nov 21.
Stakeholders expressed that a smaller size limit is more appropriate because gray triggerfish are, on average, smaller in size in state waters off the Atlantic coast of south Florida than they are in other federally managed regions along the Atlantic. FWC realized public input from all areas affected by the size limit change was not received by federal fishery managers.
For more information on the changes, click here.
FWC’s monthly newsletter for November, Fishing in the Know, is available for viewing
The November 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
Slow down for manatees migrating to warmer waters
With winter’s chill approaching, Florida manatees are on the move. Manatees cannot tolerate cold water and may begin to seek warmer water when temperatures start to drop below 68°F. Some travel hundreds of miles to reach a warmer destination. Because of the annual migration, FWC is reminding boat and personal watercraft operators that it is important to slow down to avoid manatees, particularly in shallow areas.
Manatees can be difficult to see as they often swim and rest just below the water’s surface. Boaters wearing polarized sunglasses are more likely to spot manatees underwater.
November is Manatee Awareness Month. There is no better time to plan a visit to observe Florida’s beloved manatees. Find these places by going to MyFWC.com/Manatee and clicking the link under the “Where can I See Manatees?” box.
Boaters should be aware that many seasonal manatee protection zones go into effect on Nov 15 throughout the state. For information about manatee protection zones by county, including the seasonal changes, go to MyFWC.com/Manatee, and click on “Data and Maps.” At the bottom of that same page, there also is information on FWC Manatee COLD-weather changes to speed zones. FWC law enforcement officers will be on the water enforcing these seasonal rules to protect manatees in busy boating areas.
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.
Nine New Saltwater Grand Slams for Florida
FWC has introduced nine new Saltwater Grand Slams. Grand Slams challenge anglers to catch three specific fish species in a 24-hour period.
The new Grand Slams include:
- Inshore Grand Slam: red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder
- Family Slam: any three fish in the same family (example: red drum, black drum and spotted seatrout)
- Blue Water Slam: dolphin, sailfish, wahoo
- Florida Grand Slam: permit, tarpon, bonefish
- Shoreline Slam: sheepshead, whiting, Florida pompano
- Reefs and Rubble Slam: black sea bass, gag, gray triggerfish
- Nearshore Slam: cobia, tripletail, king mackerel
- Bay and Estuary Slam: gray (mangrove) snapper, snook, Spanish mackerel
- Small Fry Slam (for children 15 and under): pinfish, grunt, catfish
Click here to view more information.