BRADENTON – FWCC has discussed waiving the commercial and recreational bag limit and license requirement for lionfish and approved a 44-day long recreational season for red snapper. A cold front will settle into the northern Gulf Coast states on Thursday, diminishing Friday according to NOAA. Capt. Rick Grassett recommends catching and release night snook fishing in the ICW from Sarasota to Venice next week. Anglers should look for reds and big trout in potholes and on the edges of bars when the tide is low or on shallow flats on sunny afternoons when the tide is high.
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at its April 17 meeting near Tallahassee, moved forward unanimously with a proposal to make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only fisheries.
- The tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only proposal includes the following potential changes for management in state and federal waters off Florida:
- Eliminating all harvest of tarpon with the exception of the harvest or possession of a single tarpon when in pursuit of an IGFA record and in conjunction with a tarpon tag.
- Keeping the tarpon tag price at $50 per tag but limiting them to one tag per person, per year.
- Modifying the tarpon tag program, including reporting requirements and shifting the start and end date for when the tarpon tag is valid.
Discontinuing the bonefish tournament exemption permit that allows tournament anglers to temporarily possess bonefish for transport to a tournament scale.
- The proposal will be brought back before the Commission for a final public hearing at its June meeting in Lakeland.
- In a separate discussion, the Commission also reviewed how gear is being used for the tarpon fishery in Boca Grande Pass. The Commission directed staff to re-examine the definition of snagging and redefine what gear can be used in the Pass. This issue will likely be brought before the Commission at the June meeting as a draft proposal.
More information is available at MyFWC.com/Commission.
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on April 17 at its meeting near Tallahassee discussed waiving the commercial and recreational bag limit and the recreational license requirement for divers harvesting lionfish using certain gear.
- In August 2012, the FWC put a temporary rule in place that waived the recreational fishing license requirement when targeting lionfish with a hand-held net, pole spear, Hawaiian sling or any other spearing device designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish. This temporary rule change also removed any bag limits when recreationally or commercially harvesting lionfish. Prior to the change, recreational anglers could not catch more than 100 pounds of lionfish without being required to have a commercial license.
- The temporary rule change expires Aug. 3.
- The Commissioners will finalize the license waiver and the bag limit removal at their June meeting in Lakeland.
- Lionfish are a nonnative, invasive species that negatively impact Florida’s native saltwater fish and wildlife. Currently, the most effective method of removing lionfish from Florida waters is by spearing or using a hand-held net. Removing the license requirements and bag limits will increase lionfish harvest opportunities.
- For more on the proposal presented to Commissioners, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings.”
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a 44-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters at its meeting April 17 in Tallahassee. State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in Gulf waters.
- This season will start June 1 and end July 14. It is inconsistent with the current proposed federal season.
- Federal fishery managers recently passed a rule that grants NOAA Fisheries the authority to shorten the federal recreational red snapper season off states that adopt inconsistent red snapper regulations. The current estimate of the recreational red snapper season is 21 days in federal waters off the Gulf coast of Florida.
- While the federal limit for how many pounds of red snapper can be caught has increased, the season length has gotten shorter over the past few years because of more fishing effort and larger fish, according to federal fishery managers.
- The Commission chose to go inconsistent based on reports that the upcoming federal stock assessment would likely show red snapper populations are doing better than previously thought and reports from anglers that the fishery is improving.
A weakening cold front will move into the waters Thursday with high pressure over the lower Mississippi Valley bridging the boundary and shifting winds to a northwest to north direction Thursday afternoon. This high will move into the mid- Atlantic states Friday and then off the U.S. East Coast over the weekend. A breezy northeast to east flow will setup for Thursday night through the weekend.
Variable winds around 5 knots becoming northwest around 10 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Thursday night will bring north winds around 10 knots becoming east overnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
Northeast winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Friday night will bring northeast winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.
East winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Saturday night will bring east winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.
East winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. A slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Sunday night will bring east winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. A slight chance of thunderstorms in the evening.