Marine Fisheries Monthly Hot Sheet


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Marine Fisheries Monthly Hot Sheet 

JULY 2014


In this issue:

Commission Meeting, Gag Grouper-Gulf, Red Snapper-Gulf, Red Snapper-Atlantic Federal, Red Snapper-Gulf Workshops, Spiny LobsterSeason Updates, Events

Commission Meeting

Action: Marine Fisheries items discussed/approved

Information: The FWC Commission discussed several marine fisheries management issues at the meeting June 18 in Fort Myers and moved forward with:

  • The creation of a Gulf Reef Fish Data Reporting System that will help improve recreational reef fish data;
  • Making several changes to how lionfish are managed including prohibiting the import of live lionfish, allowing divers using rebreathers to take lionfish, and creating a permit system to allow events such as derbies to remove lionfish via spear in areas where spearing is not allowed (effective Aug. 1);
  • Removing select local rules that are outdated and redundant from Gilchrist, Indian River and Manatee counties; and
  • Incorporating the requirements for the commercial Restricted Species endorsement, currently found in Florida Statutes, into FWC rules.

Links for more information:

Commission News Releases []

Commission Meeting Agenda []

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Gag Grouper - Gulf

Action: Federal and most state waters open; 4-county region closes

Information: Recreational anglers will be able to take their bag limit of gag grouper in all Gulf of Mexico federal waters and most Gulf state waters starting July 1, when the season opens. The same day, the season will close in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties. State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf.

The Gulf state season, not including the four-county region which was open April 1-June 30, will close to harvest Dec. 3. The Gulf federal season closure date is yet to be determined.

The minimum size limit for gag grouper in Gulf waters is 22 inches, and the bag limit is two gag within a four-grouper aggregate bag limit.

Monroe County is managed as part of the Atlantic for grouper and is open May 1 through Dec. 31 in state waters, which is from shore to 3 nautical miles.

Links for more information:

Gag grouper press release []

Gulf Grouper Information []

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Red Snapper – Gulf

Action: State season ends July 15

Information: The recreational red snapper harvest season in Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) will close July 15. The season is closed in federal waters.

Links for more information:

Red Snapper Information []

Frequently Asked Questions []

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Red Snapper – Atlantic, Federal

Action: FWC needs your help in data collection

Information: The recreational red snapper harvest season in Atlantic federal waters (beyond 3 nautical miles) will be open July 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25 and 26. The bag limit in federal waters is 1 fish per person, per day, with no minimum size limit.

There is, however, a minimum size limit of 20 inches in Atlantic state waters (shore to 3 nautical miles) and vessels with snapper smaller than this minimum size limit should transit through state waters to shore without stopping and must have gear stowed. 

FWC researchers will be at several ports asking anglers about their catch and collecting data and biological samples. These samples help determine the age of each red snapper caught and will not affect the fillets.  The FWC appreciates your help with this important data collection.

Report tagged red snapper to the Angler Tag Return Hotline at 800-367-4461.

Links for more information:

Red Snapper Information []

Red Snapper Research []

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Red Snapper – Gulf, Workshops

Action: FWC hosting several workshops in July and August

Information: The FWC has scheduled a series of Gulf of Mexico red snapper recreational stakeholder workshops beginning in late July to discuss state and federal management of recreational red snapper, and to explore potential future approaches to managing this fishery.

Anglers who would like to share their ideas to help improve management is encouraged to attend. Meeting dates and locations are listed below. All meetings will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. local time.

  • July 28: Pensacola, Pensacola City Hall – Hagler Mason room – 2nd Floor of City Hall, 222 West Main Street
  • July 29: Destin, Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave.
  • July 30: Panama City, FSU – Holley Center – Lecture Hall, Florida State University – Panama City, 4750 Collegiate Drive
  • July 31: Carrabelle, Carrabelle City Hall Cafeteria, 1001 Gray Ave.
  • August 11: St. Petersburg, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute - 3rd Floor Conference Room, 100 Eighth Ave. SE

Links for more information:

Workshops []

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Spiny Lobster

Action: July 30-31 recreational season

Information: Spiny lobster will be open to recreational harvest in state waters July 30 and 31 for the sport season and will open for regular recreational and commercial harvest Aug. 6.

During the 2-day sport season, the recreational daily bag and on-the-water possession limit is 6 per person in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and is 12 per person in all other areas in Florida. Off the water, the possession limit is equal to the daily bag limit on the first day and is double the daily bag limit on the second day.

Spiny lobster must be measured in the water and must have a carapace larger than 3 inches. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.

Lobster measurements

Night diving for spiny lobster is prohibited during the sport season in state waters off Monroe County.

Harvest is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season and in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, parts of Biscayne Bay, the lobster sanctuary in Card Sound and the no-take areas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and the regular season.

Links for more information:

Spiny Lobster Information []

How to measure a spiny lobster []

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Action:  Upcoming recreational season openings and closures for July-August.

Information: The following species have upcoming season openings/closures:

(May not include all harvest openings/closures. View regulations online at for more.)  


July 1 -

July 15 -

July 30-31

Aug. 1

Aug. 6

Aug. 10-19

Aug. 20-29

Links for more information:

FWC Recreational Regulations []

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JULY-AUGUST 2014 EVENTS             

July 19: Kids’ Fishing Clinic – Palm Coast

July 28: Recreational Gulf Red Snapper Workshop -Pensacola

July 29: Recreational Gulf Red Snapper Workshop - Destin

July 30: Recreational Gulf Red Snapper Workshop - Panama City

July 31: Recreational Gulf Red Snapper Workshop - Carrabelle

Aug. 11: Recreational Gulf Red Snapper Workshop - St. Petersburg


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FWC Facts:
The FWC operates two freshwater fish hatcheries: the Florida Bass Conservation Center in Sumter County, and the Blackwater Hatchery in Santa Rosa County.

Learn More at AskFWC