News Releases

FWC proposes more protection for permit

News Release

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) proposed several draft rule amendments on Wednesday to further enhance and protect Florida's permit fishery, while also strengthening management of the Florida pompano and African pompano fisheries.

"Permit is a major recreational game fish and a big reason why Florida is the 'Fishing Capital of the World,'" said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. "We want to give permit, Florida pompano and African pompano more protection and increase the enforceability of our current rules by extending our rules into federal waters adjacent to Florida waters, where these species are currently unregulated." Federal waters extend beyond nine nautical miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico and three miles from shore in the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition, the draft rule proposals would create separate management strategies for the three species and create two new management areas for the harvest of permit. In South Florida and the Florida Keys, permit is largely a trophy and catch-and-release fishery. In other areas of Florida, anglers catch permit from the shore and they are more often kept as a food fish.

To better manage permit for these different uses, the FWC is proposing to create a Special Permit Zone, which would include all state and federal waters south of a line running due east from Cape Florida and south of a line running due west from Cape Romano. The remainder of the state (north of these lines) would make up another management zone.

In the Special Permit Zone, a minimum size limit of 22 inches fork length and a daily bag limit of one permit per person and two per vessel would apply. Recreational anglers would be allowed to only use hook-and-line gear for permit, except that spearing for permit would be allowed in federal waters in the zone. A May, June and July closed season also would be established for permit, and the commercial harvest of permit would be prohibited in the zone.

Outside this zone, a recreational slot size for permit of 11-22 inches fork length and a daily bag limit of two fish per person would apply, with an allowance for one permit over 22 inches in length. A vessel limit of two permit larger than 22 inches in length also would apply. Recreational anglers also would be allowed to only use hook-and-line gear for permit, except that spearing for permit would be allowed in federal waters. No directed commercial harvest for permit would be allowed, and a commercial incidental bycatch trip limit of 100 fish with nets that are targeting other species would apply in areas outside of the Special Permit Zone.

In addition, the proposed rules would extend current FWC Florida pompano recreational and commercial gear and commercial trip and size limits into federal waters, maintain the Florida pompano recreational minimum size limit of 11 inches fork length, eliminate the 20-inch Florida pompano maximum size limit, and maintain the recreational daily bag limit of six Florida pompano per person (no longer an aggregate limit with permit). Current FWC African pompano recreational and commercial size and bag limits would also be extended into federal waters, and spearfishing for African pompano would be allowed in federal waters.

A final public hearing on these proposed rules will be held in June, and more information regarding the proposed permit, Florida pompano and African pompano draft rules is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the April 6-7 meeting agenda.



FWC Facts:
Personal watercraft may not be operated from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, even if navigation lights are used.

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