Latest FWC fishing regulations

The latest in Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission fishing regulations

 

FWC offering additional hog-hunting opportunities for 2011 season

Aucilla and Blackwater WMAs offering hunts through Sept.

Due to an abundance of wild hogs on portions of Aucilla and Blackwater wildlife management areas in Northwest Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is encouraging hog hunters to take part in Small Game Area (SGA) hunts during the coming months in an effort to reduce number of hogs.

Five hog-dog hunts on the Aucilla SGA are set for May 13-15; June 10-12; July 8-10; Aug. 12-14; and Sept. 9-11. There will be 10 hunts on the Blackwater SGA: May 6-8; May 20-22; June 3-5; June17-19; July 1-3; July 15-17; Aug. 5-7; Aug. 19-21; Sept. 2-4; and Sept. 16-18.
Quota permits will not be required for any of the hunts. Hunters need only a hunting license and a management area permit.

Both still hunting and dog hunting will be allowed during the day. Hog dogs will be legal to use during the night hunts.

There will be no size or bag limits on hogs. Live hogs may not be removed from the area.
Hog hunting has been allowed on both areas for several years during other hunting seasons. Because of the large population of wild hogs on both areas, the FWC has established these management hunts and given hunters more hog-hunting opportunity.

Aucilla WMA Map: Aucilla WMA

Blackwater SGA Map: BLACKWATER-SGA-Hog-hunts

 

FWC approves conditional Gulf amberjack recreational closed season

April 6, 2011 – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Wednesday approved a rule amendment to establish a two-month closed recreational harvest season for amberjack in Gulf of Mexico state waters that would be consistent with anticipated new rules in Gulf federal waters. Gulf amberjack are considered to be overfished and undergoing overfishing.

The FWC believes that applying the same closed recreational harvest season for amberjack in Gulf state waters (inside nine nautical miles from shore) as in federal offshore waters would maximize fishing opportunities for anglers and charter boat operators along Florida’s Gulf coast.

The FWC rule for Gulf state waters would establish a June 1 through July 31 closed recreational harvest season for amberjack each year. This closed season is contingent upon approval of the same recreational amberjack closed season in Gulf federal waters.

More information regarding the FWC’s Gulf amberjack approved rule amendment is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the April 6-7 meeting agenda. This rule takes effect on June 1, contingent upon approval of the federal Gulf amberjack recreational closed season.

FWC prepares for likely changes to recreational Gulf gag grouper seasons

Gag grouper. PHoto courtesy FWC.

April 6, 2011 – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Wednesday approved a rule amendment regarding open and closed recreational harvest seasons in 2011 for gag grouper in Gulf of Mexico state waters that would be consistent with anticipated interim rules in Gulf federal waters.

Gulf gag grouper are considered to be overfished and undergoing overfishing, and federal fisheries managers are preparing a plan to help rebuild populations of these fish in Gulf waters. In the meantime, interim federal rules are in effect that prohibit the recreational harvest of gag grouper in Gulf federal waters (beyond nine nautical miles from shore). This federal prohibition is expected to be in effect through the end of 2011, except for a planned Sept. 16 through Nov. 15 open recreational harvest season for gag grouper in the Gulf.

The FWC believes that applying the same recreational open and closed harvest seasons for gag grouper in Gulf state waters (inside nine nautical miles from shore) as in federal offshore waters would maximize fishing opportunities for anglers and charter boat operators along Florida’s Gulf coast and provide economic benefits to this region.

The FWC’s rule for Gulf state waters, except Monroe County waters, would establish a closed gag grouper recreational harvest season of June 1 through the end of 2011, except for an open gag grouper recreational harvest season of Sept. 16 through Nov. 15. These seasons would apply this year only, and they are contingent upon approval of the same gag grouper harvest seasons in Gulf federal waters.

More information regarding the FWC’s Gulf gag grouper approved rule amendment is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the April 6-7 meeting agenda. This rule takes effect on June 1, contingent upon approval of the federal Gulf gag grouper recreational seasons.

FWC proposes more protection for permit

April 6, 2011 – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) proposed several draft rule amendments on Wednesday to further enhance and protect Florida’s permit fishery, while also strengthening management of the Florida pompano and African pompano fisheries.

“Permit is a major recreational game fish and a big reason why Florida is the ‘Fishing Capital of the World,’” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “We want to give permit, Florida pompano and African pompano more protection and increase the enforceability of our current rules by extending our rules into federal waters adjacent to Florida waters, where these species are currently unregulated.” Federal waters extend beyond nine nautical miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico and three miles from shore in the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition, the draft rule proposals would create separate management strategies for the three species and create two new management areas for the harvest of permit. In South Florida and the Florida Keys, permit is largely a trophy and catch-and-release fishery. In other areas of Florida, anglers catch permit from the shore and they are more often kept as a food fish.

To better manage permit for these different uses, the FWC is proposing to create a Special Permit Zone, which would include all state and federal waters south of a line running due east from Cape Florida and south of a line running due west from Cape Romano. The remainder of the state (north of these lines) would make up another management zone.
In the Special Permit Zone, a minimum size limit of 22 inches fork length and a daily bag limit of one permit per person and two per vessel would apply. Recreational anglers would be allowed to only use hook-and-line gear for permit, except that spearing for permit would be allowed in federal waters in the zone. A May, June and July closed season also would be established for permit, and the commercial harvest of permit would be prohibited in the zone.

Outside this zone, a recreational slot size for permit of 11-22 inches fork length and a daily bag limit of two fish per person would apply, with an allowance for one permit over 22 inches in length. A vessel limit of two permit larger than 22 inches in length also would apply. Recreational anglers also would be allowed to only use hook-and-line gear for permit, except that spearing for permit would be allowed in federal waters. No directed commercial harvest for permit would be allowed, and a commercial incidental bycatch trip limit of 100 fish with nets that are targeting other species would apply in areas outside of the Special Permit Zone.

In addition, the proposed rules would extend current FWC Florida pompano recreational and commercial gear and commercial trip and size limits into federal waters, maintain the Florida pompano recreational minimum size limit of 11 inches fork length, eliminate the 20-inch Florida pompano maximum size limit, and maintain the recreational daily bag limit of six Florida pompano per person (no longer an aggregate limit with permit). Current FWC African pompano recreational and commercial size and bag limits would also be extended into federal waters, and spearfishing for African pompano would be allowed in federal waters.

A final public hearing on these proposed rules will be held in June, and more information regarding the proposed permit, Florida pompano and African pompano draft rules is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the April 6-7 meeting agenda.

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