BRADENTON -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved draft rule amendments on Thursday that make recreational swordfish regulations in state waters of Florida consistent with regulations in federal waters of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Swordfish in Atlantic and Gulf federal waters are managed by the NOAA Fisheries Service. The most recent stock assessment for swordfish indicates that the stock is not considered to be overfished and is not undergoing overfishing, and swordfish abundance is considered to be healthy and sustainable.
The FWC approved a series of rule amendments for swordfish in state waters that are consistent with federal regulations. These rules increase the limit for recreational vessels from three swordfish to four per vessel, create a special charter boat vessel limit of six swordfish, a special headboat vessel limit of 15 swordfish, retain the individual daily bag-limit of one swordfish per person except for the captain and crew of for-hire vessels, and remove the 33-pound minimum swordfish weight requirement.
More information about the new swordfish rules is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the June 23-24 meeting agenda. These rules are expected to take effect in early August.