In response to the cold-weather fish kills that occurred statewide during early 2010, the FWC issued executive orders to facilitate fish-kill cleanups and protect snook, bonefish and tarpon stocks while the impacts of these fish kills were evaluated. Harvest and possession of snook from state and federal waters was prohibited through Aug. 31, 2010.
An executive order temporarily extended the statewide closure of snook harvest and possession through September 16, 2010. Upon review of the latest available information on the status of the snook population, in addition to public input, the Commission ruled to reopen the recreational harvest season for snook September 17, 2010 through December 14, 2010 in Atlantic state waters and maintain a catch-and-release snook fishery in Gulf state waters.
At the June 2011 Commission Meeting, Commissioners received a staff report with the most recent information on the status of the snook population, which suggests that snook on Florida's Atlantic coast were less severely impacted by cold weather than Gulf coast snook. Based on this information, Commissioners ruled to reopen snook harvest season September 1, 2011 in Atlantic waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The regular daily bag limit of one snook per harvester per day will apply, as will the 28"-32" total length slot limit.
The current harvest prohibition of snook in all of Florida's Gulf of Mexico, Everglades National Park and Monroe County state and federal waters will remain in effect until August 31, 2012 to allow the snook population additional time to rebound and provide time to complete a full stock assessment. Catch and release of Gulf coast snook is still permitted at this time.
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