Floirda relaxes seasons, rules on seatrout, increases bag for redfish in northern region

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissionelected to increase both commercial and recreational fishing opportunities forspotted seatrout in Florida waters at during the first day of the commissionmeeting in Key Largo yesterday, November 16, 2011. Changes are implementedstarting February 1, 2012 and include removing the recreational seasonalclosures, effectively opening seatrout to harvest year-round."What we are trying to do is be fair in a fishery thatis in abundance, and in some cases, way in abundance," said Chairman KathyBarco. "We are dealing with a success story."In Florida, spotted seatrout have been closed torecreational harvest during November and December in the South Region andFebruary in the North Region to allow for a better chance of survival whenreleased. Spotted seatrout have a high release mortality during the warmer months.The changes come after a 2010 spotted seatrout stockassessment indicated numbers were consistently exceeding the annual managementgoal across the state, and nearly double in the northeast region of Florida.In addition, the recreational bag limit in the NorthernRegion has been upped from five fish to six.On the same day, the FWC voted to divide the state intothree management areas for red drum (northwest, northeast and south), so thatthe fish could be managed regionally. They also voted to increase the bag limitfrom one fish to two fish in the northern region. The 18-27 inch slot limitwill remain in effect, along with a one fish bag limit in the southern region.As with seatrout, these new rules take effect February 1, 2012.
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