State broken into three management areas; northern bag limits double from 1 to 2 fish.

Florida fishermen targeting redfish in northern Florida can keep two fish starting Feb. 1, 2012, as part of management changes from the Key Largo Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting November 16 and 17.

At the meeting, approved changes included the creation of three management areas for redfish (the northwest, the northeast and the south) instead of one statewide region. The northwest area includes waters from Escambia to Pasco counties, and the northeast area includes Nassau through Flagler counties. The south area covers Pinellas through Monroe counties on the west coast and Miami-Dade through Volusia counties on the east coast.

The exciting news is that northeast and northwest region anglers can keep two reds per day starting Feb. 1, 2012. The doubled daily bag limit was approved after a recent redfish stock assessment showed that drum escapement rates (the proportion of fish surviving through age 4 relative to the number that would have survived to that age if there were no fishery) have been consistently above the FWC’s 40-percent management goal in the northern regions.

Other new regulations that begin Feb. 12 include a statewide vessel limit of eight redfish, and a maximum number of six reds per person transported on land. All other recreational redfish rules remain the same, including a slot limit of 18 to 27 inches and a one-redfish bag limit in southern Florida.

“This is our version of having a listed protected species and being able to take it off that list. This is a success story,” said Commissioner Brian Yablonski about the increased redfishing limits. “If ever there was a moment to give back, this is it.”

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