Monday, February 12, 2018

FWC considers pilot program to take over red snapper fishing in state and federal waters

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is considering a proposed fishery-management pilot program that would allow the FWC to manage all recreational red snapper harvest caught in Gulf state and federal waters off Florida in 2018 and 2019.

The pilot program, also known as an Exempted Fishing Permit, is pending approval by NOAA Fisheries.

It would set the harvest season for recreational anglers fishing from private vessels in state and federal waters of the Gulf, and would also include for-hire operations that do not have a federal reef fish permit and are limited to targeting reef fish in Gulf state waters only.

This Exempted Fishing Permit would not apply to commercial fishermen or for-hire operations with a valid federal reef fish permit.

The FWC last week discussed a potential 24-day season in Gulf state and federal waters as a jumping off point for a 2018 season proposal though the season length could change.

This Exempted Fishing Permit opportunity and 2018 recreational season dates should be finalized sometime in April.