New regulations expected for hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and seatrout.
A hammerhead shark makes its way to the transom door off Miami.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continued its policy to protect stressed shark populations by proposing a new rule that would prohibit taking scalloped hammerheads, great hammerheads, smooth hammerheads and tiger sharks from state waters.
Sharks have been strictly regulated in Florida since 1992, with a one-shark-per-person, two-sharks-per-vessel daily bag limit for all recreational and commercial fishermen. Plus, there’s a ban on shark finning in state waters, and roughly two dozen shark species are already protected.
“Florida has been recognized as a pioneer and a leader in shark management efforts for nearly 20 years,” said FWC Chairman Kathy Barco. “We recognize that maintaining healthy shark populations is critical to the sustainability of our marine ecosystem. The additional protections we are proposing would help preserve Florida’s valuable marine resources.”
In addition to the proposed rules, the Commission wants to develop an educational campaign for proper shark catch, handling and release techniques. Commissioners also asked staff to explore a trophy tag program for specific sharks. The tag, similar to the one used for tarpon, would allow anglers to harvest a shark for record purposes.
This monster seatrout was pulled from an East Central Florida flat.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several draft amendments for spotted seatrout regulations that would remove any seasonal closures for recreational fishermen. A 2010 stock assessment of spotted seatrout in Florida indicated that the annual management goals for spotted seatrout are consistently being exceeded across the state.
As a result, the FWC is proposing removing the current February closure in North Florida (Flagler through Nassau counties and Pasco through Escambia counties) and the November-through-December closure in South Florida (Volusia through Pinellas counties). In addition, Commissioners asked staff to look into increasing the recreational bag limit in the Northeast Region. More information regarding the FWC’s spotted seatrout draft rule is available in the online agenda at MyFWC.com/Commission.