At its December Commission meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved changes to the management of Florida’s flounder fishery.
A stock status update suggested that the flounder fishery statewide has been in a general declining trend in recent years and is likely overfished and undergoing overfishing on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Other south Atlantic and Gulf states have also reported declines in flounder populations and have been making their own regulation changes.
FWC has been working with stakeholders to gather input on this fishery through workshops, online commenting and more.
Changes effective March 1, 2021, include:
• Extending ALL FWC flounder regulations into federal waters.
• Increasing the minimum size limit from 12 inches to 14 inches total length (recreational and commercial).
• Reducing the recreational daily bag limit from 10 to five fish per person.
• Establishing an Oct. 15 – Nov. 30 recreational closed season.
• For commercial harvesters using allowable gear: Establishing a commercial trip and vessel limit of 150 fish from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 fish from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30.
• Modifying the incidental bycatch limit for commercial harvesters using non-allowable gear from 50 pounds to 50 fish/trip.
• Creating a federal waters trawl bycatch limit of 150 flounder/trip from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 fish/trip from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30.
Learn more about flounder regulations at MyFWC.com/Marine.