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Western Dry Rocks Public Workshops

Share your input on the future management of fisheries in the Western Dry Rocks area by attending one of our workshops this Jan. 11, 14, or 21.

Something's fishy with gag grouper

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. Share your gag fishing experience.

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Commercial fishermen who sold any spiny lobster, flounder, or tuna and were impacted by tariffs from foreign governments, may be eligible for relief as part of the USDA Seafood Trade Relief Program.

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Federal News

Modifications to Charter Vessel and Headboat Electronic Reporting Requirements

Commission meeting – December

Commission meeting – December

Marine Fisheries items

Information: The FWC Commission listened to public testimony on and discussed the following marine fisheries management items at the virtual Dec. 16-17 meeting. 

Decision making (regulation changes were made on these topics):

  • Apalachicola oysters: The Commission will temporarily suspend all wild oyster harvest from Apalachicola Bay and prohibit on-the-water possession of wild oyster harvesting equipment (tongs) through Dec. 31, 2025. The proposed rules will not apply to oyster aquaculture operations. These changes were proactively put into place Aug. 1, 2020, via Executive Order. Staff will continue monitoring oyster recovery and will evaluate whether harvest opportunities may be available prior to the end of 2025.
  • Flounder: The Commission made several changes to the flounder fishery that will go into effect March 1, 2021. A stock status update completed by FWC suggests that flounder on the Atlantic coast may be overfished and that there has been a general declining trend statewide. Over the past few years, staff have also heard a variety of concerns and requests for management changes in the flounder fishery. Changes include an increased size limit, a reduced recreational bag limit, establishment of commercial trip and vessel limits, establishment a recreational closed season, and an extension of all proposed and existing flounder regulations into federal waters.

Draft proposal (these items will be brought back to a future meeting for final decision):

  • Western Dry Rocks: The Commission discussed a draft proposal to seasonally protect a multi-species spawning aggregation site in the lower Florida Keys. The proposed draft rule, if approved at a future meeting, would prohibit fishing from May through June in a 1-square-mile area near Western Dry Rocks. See Western Dry Rocks section below for workshop dates and locations.
  • Diamondback terrapin/blue crab trap bycatch reduction devices: The Commission approved a draft proposal and directed staff to continue looking into prohibiting the take and possession of diamondback terrapins and requiring a maximum entrance size or bycatch reduction device (BRDs). The Commission also directed staff to look at potential impacts to the blue crab industry.

Discussions (no regulation changes were made on these items):

  • Florida pompano, permit and African pompano: The Commission listen to a staff presentation on these fisheries and recent stakeholder requests related to their management.
  • Sharks: The Commission listened to a staff presentation on the current status and management of sharks, and an overview of shark-related topics including negative interactions between fishermen and sharks.
  • Spiny lobster: The Commission listened to a staff presentation on this fishery, including commercial harvesting methods, casitas and other topics.
  • Federal fishery management updates: The Commission discussed outcomes of recent meetings of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico federal fishery management councils.

Links for more information:

Agenda []

Commission Meetings

Find out what's coming to the next Commission meeting.

Red Tide Update

Snook, redfish and spotted seatrout catch-and-release only in areas affected by red tide through May 31, 2021. This includes all waters from Gordon Pass in Collier County north through Pasco County.

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The Marine Fisheries Management Monthly Newsletter

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Marine Fisheries Management Quarterly Column

This quarterly column focuses on fishing across Florida, from the best bait to catch a cobia with to how to know what to fish for on vacation.

Good to Get

Find out what species are currently open for harvest on our Good to Get page.