FWC extends red tide fisheries conservation measures in SW Florida
At its May meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) extended several fisheries management conservation measures for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout in areas of southwest Florida impacted by a prolonged red tide that occurred from November 2017 through mid-February 2019.
The extension for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout will go into effect May 11 and will apply from the Pasco-Hernando county line south (including all waters of Tampa Bay) through Gordon Pass in Collier County. Previously approved catch-and-release measures, including no harvest of spotted seatrout over 20 inches, remain in effect through May 10.
Changes effective May 11:
- Snook and red drum will remain catch-and-release only for an additional year through May 31, 2020.
- Spotted seatrout will be catch-and-release only, including no commercial harvest through May 31, 2020.
The approved changes FWC felt will give these important fisheries additional time to recover from red tide. Staff will continue monthly monitoring of local red drum, snook and spotted seatrout populations throughout the coming year to help determine whether these species are rebuilding under the temporary management measures.
Staff will also revisit the snook extension in early 2020 to determine if that species may be reopened to harvest earlier than May 31, 2020.