FWC proposes catch-and-release only for bonefish
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) proposed draft rules on Wednesday that would allow
only catch-and-release fishing for bonefish, a premier saltwater
game fish in Florida. The proposed rules would also establish new
provisions regarding the possession of bonefish by anglers and the
possession and transport of bonefish during bonefish fishing
"Bonefish are an extremely valuable Florida game
fish," said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. "These proposed rules will
further protect bonefish populations in South Florida, while
providing anglers with opportunities to document a record catch and
enjoy the exciting action of bonefish fishing tournaments."
Bonefish are prized by anglers because they are
stealthy, fast-swimming fish that are exciting and challenging to
catch. South Florida is one of the few places in the United States
where anglers can fish for bonefish, and the shallow saltwater
flats of the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay are considered a
world-class destination for catching large, trophy-sized bonefish.
A recent study by scientists at the University of Miami estimated
the value of a single bonefish in the Florida Keys to be $3,500
each year, and nearly $75,000 over the lifespan of the fish.
Based on bonefish's economic value as a game fish,
the FWC's proposed draft rules would eliminate the one-fish daily
bag limit for bonefish and allow only catch-and-release fishing.
Most anglers already release the bonefish they catch as a
The proposed rules would also allow anglers to
temporarily possess a bonefish where it is caught, so they can
photograph and measure or weigh the fish to document a possible
record catch. In addition, the proposed rules would allow anglers
participating in specially permitted tournaments to temporarily
possess and transport bonefish to tournament check-in stations for
weigh-in under specified conditions. These fish would still have to
be carefully handled and eventually released.
information regarding the FWC's bonefish draft rule proposal is
available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the Feb.
23-24 meeting agenda, and a final public hearing on these rule
proposals will take place in April.