Spotted Seatrout May Remain Open Year-Round in Florida Waters

Florida anglers may soon see some return for theirsacrifices if a proposal by the Florida Fish and Wildlife ConservationCommission comes to rule at their next general meeting in November. Duringtheir September meeting the FWC approved several draft amendments that wouldopen seatrout year-round in Florida waters and possibly increase recreationaland commercial bag limits in some regions.For over 20 years the FWC has managed seatrout populationshoping to maintain a specific spawning potential ratio, and in recent yearsthat number has been exceeded. One of the seatrout management strategies wasclosing the season in North Florida during the month of February, and SouthFlorida in November and December.The reasoning for the winter closures wasthat seatrout have a lower release mortality, and thus the ability to survivein cooler water temperatures.?I never really thought they?d open those seasons again,?said Capt. Ed Zyak of Jensen Beach, who targets spotted seatrout on the IndianRiver. ?Usually once something is taken away it?s in such bad shape that itnever regains its population, but this is a sign that good fisheries managementdoes work. We saw the same thing with redfish a while back.?One of the reasons attributed to the overall improvement inthe seatrout population was less anglers targeting the fish because of smallersize and bag limits. Strict commercial fishing limits have also been cited.?When I was a kid, everyone fished for seatrout, but that?snot the case today,? said Zyak. ?Now everyone wants to catch snook and redfish,so I think a lot of the fishing pressure and the anglers who kept fish for thetable has shifted to other species.?Black Seabass HarvestCloses in Atlantic October 17, Vermillion Snapper Nov.1The National Oceanic andAtmospheric Administration Fisheries Service has announced that recreationalanglers will be prohibited from harvesting black sea bass from South Atlanticwaters beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, October 17, 2011.Since black sea bass are definedas overfished, anglers will not be able to harvest black sea bass in federalwaters from the North Carolina-Virginia state line to Key West until June 1,2012. The commercial fishing season for black sea bass closed July 15.Anglers also are reminded thatharvest of vermilion snapper will be prohibited starting Nov. 1 and continuingthrough March 31, 2012.
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