Us On...

Redfish Changes Threaten Management Goal

Comments: Leave | View
On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:16PM | By: Clay Ritchings

I recently read that the FWC is considering increasing the redfish limit in the northern zones. The fishery has made significant progress and is considered to be a management success, so much so that some anglers have called for more liberal redfish regulations, including an increase in the daily bag limit. If you talk to some old timers, it’s still a far cry from what it used to be, so why change it now?

The FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute recently completed a stock assessment for redfish; currently redfish in Florida are healthy. However, even though localized large schools of redfish do occur, the number of juveniles escaping to the offshore spawning stock is decreasing, which is critical for the long-term health and abundance of the redfish. Increased fishing pressure could put a damper on continued abundance of this important sport fish species. Increasing the number of redfish harvested will put the stock well below the management goal, according to FWC biologists.

Redfish used to be an extremely popular fish in local waters, but their population was hit hard by overfishing and was in danger of collapse in 1986. This resulted in a ban on redfish sales, a three-month closure to all redfish harvest, and strict bag and size limits. As redfish stocks improved, a year-round sport season reopened in 1996, but the prohibition of sale and the one-redfish daily bag limit and slot limit remain in place today.

Why split the fishery and allow the north to double their bag limit? Are there more fish in the northern region? Why increase the limit if we haven't met the goal? There are lots of questions that need to be answered before any rule changes; thankfully the FWC is not making any moves until after many hearings around the state so that they can get input from fisherman. The meeting will be held in Panama City, Cocoa, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Crystal River.

The suggested changes to the bag limit have not gone over well with the Coastal Conservation Association, a non-profit organization which had a large part in the laws that protect the redfish today. If you can’t make it to any of the meetings, make sure that you join CCA and support the continued battle for the health and longevity of our coastal fisheries and for recreational anglers’ interests in them.

Recreational fishermen have endured the bag limit for years and have become accustomed to it. The fishery has come a long ways and now is not the time to change it. If it’s not broke—don’t fix it!

Meeting schedules:

Wednesday, Sept. 8
Gulf Coast Community College
5230 W. U.S. Highway 98
Student Union East
2nd Floor Conference Room
Panama City

Thursday, Sept. 9
FWC Headquarters
620 S. Meridian St.
Farris Bryant Building
2nd Floor Conference Room

Monday, Sept. 20
Brevard Agricultural Center
3695 Lake Drive

Tuesday, Nov. 23
Jacksonville Public Library
Southeast Branch
10599 Deerwood Park Blvd.

Tuesday, Nov. 30
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Ave. SE
Karen A. Steidinger Auditorium
St. Petersburg

Wednesday, Dec. 1
City Hall Council Chambers
123 NW Highway 19
Crystal River


Be the first to leave a comment.

Leave A Commment

Allowed HTML tags: <a href=""> <abbr title=""> <b> <em> <i>
Please no link dropping, no keywords or domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! rel="nofollow" is in use