Meeting Tonight: Proposed Gulf Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit

Reminder: FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management is hosting a statewide telephone conference tonight, Tuesday, March 11 to gather input on a proposed Gulf Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit.

If you’ve been unable to attend one of the in-person workshops, this phone conference is for you.

The proposal would create a no-cost permit or registry system for recreational anglers targeting reef fish such as red snapper, grouper, amberjack and gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico in an effort to improve data collection.

Please pass this information along to anyone you think might be interested in learning more about this proposal and/or providing input.

The phone conference is from 6 to 8 p.m. EDT. To participate, please call 850-487-0554 today or between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to obtain instructions on how to join the meeting.

There is also a meeting Wednesday, March 12, in Pensacola from 6 to 8 p.m. CDT at the Escambia County Extension Office Auditorium, 3740 Stefani Road.

A note from the FS editorial staff:

Generally, we’re all in favor of gathering accurate assessment data, but we’d be wary of hit-and-miss angler reports that are generated, in effect, voluntarily on a non-random basis.

The data may be interesting in some ways but would be very costly to accomplish. Those funds may be better used for other methods, such as expanded catch-per-unit of effort studies.

Moreover, a free but required permit for one coast in federal waters could be unpopular and largely ignored based on what we’ve seen in data gathering.

The new federal survey system, while problematic, is being evaluated and seems best at this juncture.