FWC News Release

Weakfish management workshop scheduled

January 13, 2009
Contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has scheduled a public workshop to receive comments on coming management changes for weakfish. There will be a discussion about results of the recent weakfish stock assessment by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and proposed changes to Florida's weakfish management area.

A recent ASMFC stock assessment found weakfish to be depleted along the entire Atlantic Coast. Florida, as an ASMFC member state, must reduce the daily recreational bag limit for weakfish from 4 fish to 1 fish and reduce commercial weakfish take to 100 pounds per trip.

In addition, the FWC is proposing to reduce Florida's weakfish management area to include only Nassau and Duval counties north of the Buckman Bridge on the St. Johns River. Reducing the area of weakfish management should alleviate identification and enforcement issues that exist, because weakfish and sand seatrout look similar and have created a hybrid population. All weakfish-like fish within the management area would be considered weakfish, and all weakfish-like fish outside this area would be considered sand seatrout, which are unregulated.

The FWC encourages public participation at the workshop, which will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 6-8 p.m. at the Regency Square Regional Library, Room A, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., in Jacksonville.

Anyone requiring special accommodations to participate in the workshop should advise the FWC at least five days prior to the workshop by calling 850-488-6411. If you are hearing- or speech-impaired, please contact the FWC through the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice).