FWC Press Release
Contact: Lee Schlesinger, (850) 487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved changes to snook bag and size limits and harvest seasons during its meeting in Melbourne Thursday.
New rules reduce the snook daily recreational bag limit from two fish per person to one on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, which means a one-fish daily limit on snook will apply statewide.
Rules also change the 27-34 inches total length snook slot limit to 28-32 inches in Atlantic waters and 28-33 inches in Florida’s Gulf, Everglades National Park and Monroe County waters.
In addition, the rules add the first half of December and the month of February to the Dec. 15 – Jan. 31 and May – August closed harvest seasons for snook in the Gulf, Everglades and Monroe County. However, the Dec. 15 – Jan. 31 and June – August closed harvest seasons in Atlantic waters remain unchanged.
The rules also allow anglers to carry more than one cast net aboard a vessel while fishing for snook.
“These rule changes are intended to provide additional protection for Florida’s valuable snook populations, which are considered to be fairly healthy on the state’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “However, the FWC believes a reduction in harvest is necessary to help achieve the Commission’s management goal for snook and sustain and improve the fishery for the future.”
The latest FWC snook stock assessment concluded the management goal of a 40-percent spawning potential ratio for this fishery is not being met, and increasing fishing effort and habitat loss are contributing to the decline. Spawning potential ratio is the ratio of the egg production of mature fish in a fished population to the egg production that would exist if the population were not fished.
The new snook rules take effect in July and will be implemented when the snook harvest season reopens on Sept. 1.