FWC News Release
Contact: Lee Schlesinger, (850) 487-0554
Anglers may see new snook regulations soon. Changes to snook bag and size limits and harvest seasons were proposed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Thursday.
This action is 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. 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.
The latest FWC stock assessment for snook concluded the management goal of a 40-percent spawning potential ratio established for this fishery is not being met, and increasing fishing effort and habitat loss are contributing to the declining rate. 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 FWC has proposed rule amendments to reduce the snook daily recreational bag limit from two fish to one on the Atlantic Coast, which would coincide with the one-fish limit now in place on the Gulf Coast and in waters of Everglades National Park and Monroe County. The rules also would change the current 27-34 inches total length snook slot limit to 28-32 inches in the Atlantic and 28-33 inches in Gulf, Everglades and Monroe County waters.
No changes are proposed for the Dec. 15 – Jan. 31 and June-August snook closed harvest seasons in the Atlantic, however the rules would add the first half of December and the month of February to the Dec. 15 – Jan. 31 and May-August snook closed harvest seasons in the Gulf, Everglades and Monroe County.
Another rule proposal would allow snook anglers to carry more than one cast net aboard a vessel. Right now, anglers who possess a snook on a vessel are allowed to have only one secured and stored cast net aboard the vessel.
The proposed snook rule changes were initiated by a workgroup formed by the FWC to help evaluate management of the snook fishery. A series of public workshops was recently held in Central and South Florida to allow comment and input regarding the proposals.
A final public hearing on the proposed snook rules will take place during the FWC’s June 13-14 meeting in Melbourne.