The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting several mutton snapper workshops this month to gather public input on potential management changes in state waters.
The American Sportfishing Association and the Keep Florida Fishing initiative support the FWC staff recommendations, which include:
- Increasing the recreational, commercial, importation and sale minimum size limit from 16 to 18 inches total length.
- Reducing the recreational bag limit from 10 to three fish per person within the 10-fish snapper aggregate bag limit.
- Replacing the May through June commercial trip limit in all state waters with a three-fish per person, per day limit from April through June in Atlantic state waters only.
- Establishing a 500-pound commercial trip limit for the remainder of the year (August 2016 to March 2017) in Atlantic state waters.
Staff also will be gathering public input on whether or not to create a closure southwest of Key West at Western Dry Rocks, a major spawning site and popular fishing spot for mutton snapper.
Workshops will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time and are scheduled as follows: Aug. 10 – St. Petersburg Aug. 11 – Stuart Aug. 15 – Dania Beach/Fort Lauderdale Aug. 16 – Duck Key Aug. 17 – Key West Aug. 18 – Key Largo
Mutton snapper is an important south Florida fishery. The 2015 stock assessment indicates that regulatory changes, including reducing the federal quota or the amount of fish that can be harvested per year, are needed. FWC staff has been gathering public input on how best to proceed.