Florida Ups Bag Limits For Red Drum

florida fishing
Henry Waszczuk holds up a red drum.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has approved new measures allowing recreational anglers in northern Florida to take home more red drum.

Other red drum rules will remain intact, including a slot limit of 18 to 27 inches and a one-red-drum bag limit in the southern part of Florida.

Changes will take effect Feb. 1, 2012, and include the following:

  • Create three management areas for red drum (the northwest, the northeast and the south) instead of one statewide management area
  • Increase the number of red drum that a recreational fisherman can take per day in the northeast and northwest regions of the state from one to two red drum.
  • Establish a statewide vessel limit of eight red drum.
  • Limit the number of red drum that can be transported on land to six red drum per person.

These rule changes are the result of a successful management strategy that began back in 1989, when red drum were considered severely overfished.

"This is our version of having a listed protected species and being able to take it off that list. This is a success story," Commissioner Brian Yablonski said. "If ever there was a moment to give back, this is it."

A 2009-10 red drum stock assessment completed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute showed that red drum escapement rates (the proportion of fish surviving through age 4 relative to the number that would have survived to that age if there were no fishery) have been consistently above the FWC's 40-percent management goal in the northern regions of the state.

For more news on fishing regulations, click here.

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