Friday, April 28, 2017

FWC's Fishing in the Know

May 2017

FWC's Fishing in the Know

Division of Marine Fisheries Management Monthly Newsletter

Circle hooks are 90% more likely to hook fish in the mouth instead of in the esophagus or stomach. Hooking a fish in the mouth reduces internal injury, decreases dehooking time, and lessens the chances of the angler needing to leave the hook in the fish. Fish hooked in the corner of the mouth also tend to fight less than fish that are hooked in the gut.
female holds spotted seatrout
Kristin Southerland entered this spotted seatrout in the Saltwater Reel Big Fish angler recognition program.
Submit your photos by emailing them to

Commission Meeting – Tallahassee

Marine Fisheries items discussed

Information: The FWC Commission listened to public testimony on and discussed several marine fisheries management items at the April 19-20 meeting in Tallahassee.
Regulation changes (final decisions on these topics were made at this meeting):
  • Red snapper: Approved a 78-day recreational season in Gulf state waters for 2017.
  • King mackerel: Federal consistency item revising the management boundary between the Gulf and the Atlantic king mackerel fisheries to be the Monroe/Miami-Dade county line year-round, streamline commercial king mackerel fishery regulations, and increase the Gulf and Monroe County recreational bag limit from two to three fish per person. An effective date is to be determined.
  • Warren Bayou (Bay County): Harvest will be allowed in waters of Warren Bayou year-round, repealing the current November through February closure.
  • Greater amberjack: Season closed April 22 through Dec. 31, 2017, in an effort to prevent quota overages.
Draft regulation changes (this item will be brought back to the July Commission meeting for final decision):
  • Gag grouper: The Commission approved a draft rule that, if approved at the July meeting, will open the recreational harvest of gag grouper in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. This action would add additional dates to the current April 1 through June 30season for these four counties. Gulf state waters outside of that area and all Gulf federal waters are open June 1 through Dec. 31. Staff are gathering public input on this topic. For your comments to be considered at the July 10-11 Commission meeting, please submit input no later than May 31 at
  • Federal fishery management updates
  • Gray triggerfish: Update and discussion of possible limited fall 2017 recreational season in Gulf state waters. Staff are gathering public input on this topic. For your comments to be considered at the July 10-11 Commission meeting, please submit input no later than May 31 at
  • Lionfish Challenge 2017: Review and discussion on a 2017 Lionfish Challenge removal and incentive program. This year’s challenge will be statewide and will include commercial and recreational categories. Learn more.
  • 2017-18 Marine Fisheries Management Workplan

Links for more information:
Agenda []


Action: Public workshops for Gulf state waters fishery coming in May

Information: Stakeholders from the Panhandle have been expressing concerns about the status of the cobia fishery in their area. In response to these concerns, staff is taking public comments on the fishery in Gulf state waters. Public workshops will be coming in mid to late May. Check back to the website in the next week for dates and locations. In the meantime, you can provide comments on the Saltwater Comments webpage.
Links for more information:
Saltwater Comments []

Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day

Action: Celebrate with us May 20 and 21

Information: Join the FWC in celebrating the third annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (Saturday, May 20) by attending one of many exciting events across the state, including a 2-day festival in Pensacola and several statewide removal events.
Links for more information:

Lionfish Challenge

Action: Revamped program has commercial and recreational categories

Information: Remove 25 or more lionfish (or sell at least 25 pounds commercially) between Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 20, 2017) and Labor Day (Sept. 4, 2017) to enter the FWC’s Lionfish Challenge and be eligible to win prizes. The recreational and commercial harvesters who check in the most lionfish will be crowned Florida’s recreational Lionfish King or Queen and Commercial Champion, respectively. Registration opens May 8.
Links for more information:
Lionfish Challenge []

Red Snapper - Gulf

Action: State recreational season starts in May

Information: Recreational season in state waters set to open Saturdays and Sundays in May starting May 6; then open daily May 27 through July 9; and open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day.
Links for more information:
Snapper []

Greater Amberjack - Gulf

Action: State recreational season closed

Information: Season closed April 22 through Dec. 31, 2017, in an effort to prevent quota overages. Gulf federal season closed March 24 through Dec. 31, 2017.
Links for more information:
Amberjack []

Grouper - Atlantic

Action: Recreational season opens May 1

Information: The recreational season for gag, black, red, yellowmouth and yellowfin grouper; scamp; red hind; rock hind; coney; and graysby; opens May 1 in Atlantic state and federal waters, including state waters in Monroe County.
Links for more information:
Groupers []

Snook - Gulf

Action: Season closes May 1

Information: Snook will close to harvest in Gulf state, federal and inland waters, including all of Monroe County and Everglades National Park, starting May 1.  
Links for more information:
Snook []

Stone Crab

Action: Season closes May 16

Information: Recreational and commercial stone crab season closes May 16 in state waters.  
Links for more information:
Stone crab []

Gulf Reef Fish Survey

Attention Gulf Anglers

Information: Snapper and grouper season is right around the corner. That means it is time to sign up for or renew your participation in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey. Registration for this survey is required if you fish from a private vessel for the following reef species in the Gulf: red and vermilion snapper; gag, red, and black grouper; greater and lesser amberjack; banded rudderfish; almaco jack; and gray triggerfish.
To renew online, visit
If you are NOT a Gulf reef fish angler and don’t plan on fishing for these reef species in the Gulf this year, please do not sign up or renew your participation in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey. By only sampling anglers who plan on fishing for those species, Florida is improving recreational data collection. Questions? Contact us at
Just a reminder – renewing the Gulf Reef Fish Survey does not renew your fishing license, so if needed, remember to renew that as well!
Thank you for helping Florida collect more timely and accurate data on Gulf reef fish harvest.
Links for more information:
Gulf Reef Fish Survey []

Flounder, Sheepshead, Tripletail

FWC needs your feedback

Information: FWC is collecting feedback on Florida’s flounder, sheepshead and tripletail fisheries. If you fish for any of these three species, we’d like to know more about:
  • Whether you actively target them or if you catch them while targeting other species
  • How you fish for them (hook-and-line, etc.)
  • If these fisheries are seasonal in your area
  • When and where you target them
  • Your thoughts on how these fisheries are doing, compared to the past and/or compared to other fisheries
  • Your thoughts on current management of these species
Provide comments online at
Link for more information:
Saltwater Comments []

Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs

Catch a Florida Memory today

Information: Participation in any of these three programs encourages ethical angling while earning rewards for your efforts.
  • Saltwater Fish Life List: A list of 71 different species. Can you catch them all?
  • Saltwater Reel Big Fish: Recognition for extraordinarily-sized catches.
  • Saltwater Grand Slams: Earn rewards for catching three different specified species in a 24-hour period.
Link for more information:
Angler recognition logo

Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program

Last chance to participate, program ends May 19

Information: Remove 100 lionfish from Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties before May 19, 2017, to get a tag allowing for either an extra legal-sized red grouper or cobia over the bag limit from state waters. In addition, the first 10 persons or groups that harvest 500 or more lionfish during this one-year period will be given the opportunity to name an artificial reef.
Link for more information:


    Commission Meeting
    Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day
    2017 Lionfish Challenge
    Red snapper – Gulf
    Greater amberjack – Gulf
    Atlantic grouper
    Snook – Gulf
    Stone crab
    Gulf Reef Fish Survey
    Flounder, Sheepshead, Tripletail
    Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs
    Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program


      May - June 

      State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf and from shore to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic.  
      May 1 – Snook (Gulf) closes
      May 1 – Permit (SPZ) closes
      May 16 – Stone crab closes

      kid fishing on boat
      Garrett Crouch spends his weekends enjoying fishing with family.


      May - June

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