Saltwater Public Comments
The following topics are either tentatively slated to be brought before the Commission in the near future or items FWC staff plan to begin working on.
This is not an all-encompassing list and topics may be moved to a later date or not discussed at all.
Visit the Commission meeting agenda page to see what FWC staff will be presenting to the Commission at an upcoming meeting.
Stone crab landings in Florida show a long-term downward trend, indicating a decline in the stone crab population. FWC has been hearing concerns about the long-term health and sustainability of the stone crab fishery and is gathering feedback on a variety of potential management actions to reduce harvest and help the stone crab population recover.
The following potential management options would apply to both recreational and commercial harvesters:
- Require an escape ring in all wood and plastic stone crab traps before the 2023/2024 season
- Reduce the length of the open season by starting the season later and/or ending the season earlier
- Increase the minimum claw size from 2 ¾” to 3”
- Allow only two “checker” boxes, used for temporary possession of stone crabs while determining compliance with size limit, aboard a vessel
Comment on this fishery below.
FWC is collecting feedback on Florida’s flounder fishery. If you fish for this species, we’d like to know more about:
- Your thoughts on how these fisheries are doing – compared to the past and/or compared to other fisheries
- Your thoughts on current management of these species
Bluefish from Maine through the Atlantic coast of Florida make up a single population. A 2019 federal stock assessment found that this Atlantic population of bluefish is overfished. Because of the assessment result, federal fishery managers adopted more restrictive recreational bag limits in federal waters, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is requesting states implement similar regulations. In response to the ASMFC request, FWC will discuss and potentially modify current bluefish regulations for Atlantic caught bluefish.
The FWC will be reviewing several trap fisheries in the upcoming year including spiny lobster, blue crab, pinfish/baitfish, trap retrieval, recreational trap fisheries, and traps used for shellfish aquaculture leases. Workshops scheduled for May.
Staff has been hearing concerns about the status of various fisheries in Charlotte Harbor and is gathering feedback on the fisheries in that area.
Recreational bag limit and season regulations for blueline tilefish and snowy grouper are different in Florida’s Atlantic state and federal waters. Atlantic blueline tilefish has experienced overfishing in recent years. There is a federal rebuilding plan for Atlantic snowy grouper, which has been overfished since the early 1980s. The federal quotas for both species are small and harvest of these fish in state waters counts against their federal quotas. Thus, harvest from Florida state waters may contribute to in-season closures in federal waters.
FWC is gathering public input on aligning recreational regulations in Atlantic state waters with those in federal waters:
- Including blueline tilefish in the three-fish grouper aggregate recreational bag limit. Blueline tilefish currently fall under the default recreational bag limit of 100 pounds in state waters.
- Reducing the snowy grouper recreational bag limit from one fish per person to one fish per vessel, within the three-fish grouper aggregate.
- Setting a recreational season for blueline tilefish and snowy grouper in state waters. Currently, these species are open year round in Atlantic state waters. The current federal season for blueline tilefish and snowy grouper recreational harvest is May 1 – August 31.
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) coordinates management of spot and croaker along the Atlantic coast through an interstate fishery management plan. Population trends indicate potential cause for concern for these species and the Commission may consider modifying regulations.