FWC approves State Reef Fish Survey, effective July 1, 2020

Photo courtesy of Brice and Bear Williamson

At its May meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved implementation of the new State Reef Fish Survey. This program expands the already successful Gulf Reef Fish Survey statewide to the Atlantic coast and Monroe County.

The program will improve recreational data collection on some of Florida’s most socially and economically important reef fish, such as snapper, grouper, amberjack, gray triggerfish and hogfish.

“The FWC is so thankful to be able to expand this already successful program. The State Reef Fish Survey provides a great opportunity for FWC to work with recreational fishers to improve data for reef fish statewide,” said FWC Chairman Robert Spottswood. “Accurate recreational fisheries data provides part of the foundation needed for realistic stock assessments and well-informed fisheries management decisions that promote conservation while meeting the needs of anglers.”

Starting July 1, 2020, if you are fishing for or harvesting popular reef fish, such as red snapper, on a private recreational vessel anywhere in Florida, you will be required to get the State Reef Fish Angler designation. This includes anglers who are 65 and older. Each month, a group of State Reef Fish Anglers will be mailed a short survey about their fishing trips.

If you already have the Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation, you do not need to sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler until your Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation expires, even if you are fishing off the Atlantic coast.

For a full list of species included in the State Reef Fish Survey, information on how to sign up and much more, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” then “State Reef Fish Survey” under the “Reef Fish” tab.

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