November 18, 2011
With the 2-day FWC meetings concluded in Key Largo, Commissioners passed proposals that will affect redfish and seatrout populations starting February 12, 2012. (That's when the new regulations take effect.) For Florida's recreational redfish and seatrout fishermen, the news was received with mixed feelings.
On the positive, recent studies have shown that redfish populations increased, particularly in the northern parts of the state. That allowed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to increase the daily bag limit in Northern Florida from 1 to 2 fish.
For seatrout, closed months throughout Florida were eliminated. Seatrout that “stack up” in winter hideouts, such as deep holes of rivers and creeks, can now be caught and kept. Plus, Northeast Florida anglers can now keep 6 fish per day, with all other bag limits throughout the state remaining the same. The top family friendly inshore species in Florida is about to become the most widely caught and kept inshore species.
Read the complete details about the redfish and seatrout regulation changes.
But with the movement of offshore fishermen to inshore waters, fishing pressure was already on the rise for coastal species. Increasing bag limits for Florida's two most popular inshore species is a sure way for overfishing to occur, say many anglers. Plus, add that commercial fishermen can now target seatrout 5 – 7 months yearly, keeping 150 fish per boat with two fishermen aboard.
Many anglers statewide are asking “Why?” Why the dramatic changes now? And why allow commercial seatrout fishermen to increase fishing pressure by as much as 66 percent? Who even buys seatrout from a store? Many Northeast Florida Sportsman members are not pleased with the decision. Check out what they're saying about the regulation changes.