The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting two webinars in December to gather public testimony and input on the potential creation of saltwater game fish and sport fish designations.
The online meetings are from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 12. To participate in a webinar, visit fwc.adobeconnect.com/mfm at the start of each meeting.
The designation issue will also be a topic of discussion at the Commission’s Dec. 5 meeting in Apalachicola.
Reasons for considering these changes include helping highlight and protect some of Florida’s premier recreational fish and encouraging anglers to practice voluntary conservation practices such as catch-and-release. If adopted, these changes could lead to healthier fish populations and help Florida market its unique fishing opportunities to residents and visitors.
Suggested parameters for game fish include no commercial harvest, possession or sale; fish could be targeted only with hook and line; and captain and crew of for-hire vessels such as charter boats would have a bag limit of zero and would not be allowed to take fish home for themselves.
The sport fish designation would offer a higher level of protection than game fish by making selected species catch-and-release only, including no recreational harvest as well as no commercial harvest, possession or sale. Sport fish could also be targeted by hook and line only.
If game fish and sport fish designations are approved, staff will return to future meetings with suggestions for potential fish species candidates.
To learn more about the webinar, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops.” For those without computers, voice-only access is available. For questions about webinar access, please contact Carly Canion at 850-617-9627 or Carly.Canion@MyFWC.com.
To learn more about the proposed changes, visit MyFWC.com/Commission, “Commission Meetings” and the Dec. 5-6 agenda.