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FWC proposes increase to redfish bag limit in northern Florida

News Release

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Thursday proposed a draft rule that would raise the recreational daily redfish bag limit from one fish to two per person in large areas of northern Florida. The FWC also is proposing to create three regional management areas for redfish to better target its management approaches for this popular Florida fish.

"We've come a long way since the early 1990s, when redfish stocks were largely depleted, but the management of redfish in Florida is turning out to be a success story," said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. "The fishery is holding its own in southern Florida, and numbers of redfish in northern parts of the state are now at a point where it's safe to give back some fish to anglers."

The FWC has strictly managed redfish (also called red drum, channel bass and red bass) for more than 20 years to help rebuild overfished populations. A 2008 FWC stock assessment now indicates that annual management goals for redfish are consistently being exceeded in areas of northeastern and northwestern Florida.

As a result, the FWC is proposing establishment of three management areas for redfish in Florida (which are the same as established management areas for spotted seatrout). In all waters in the northwest management area (Escambia through Pasco counties) and in the northeast management area (Flagler through Nassau counties), the FWC proposal would raise the daily recreational bag limit for redfish from one fish to two. The Commission also directed staff to develop a possible redfish vessel limit in areas where a two-fish limit would apply.  The current one-fish daily limit would still apply in all waters in the south management area (south of Pasco and Flagler counties).

The FWC has scheduled a series of workshops this fall to hear what people think about its redfish proposals. Information regarding these workshops and additional background regarding the FWC's redfish rule proposals is available online at (click on "Fishing - Saltwater").

A final public hearing on the FWC's redfish rule proposals is scheduled for the Commission's February public meeting in Apalachicola.

FWC Facts:
Lifetime License holders born on or after June 1, 1975 must carry proof of hunter safety certification with them when hunting.

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