The effort to improve conservation and management of Florida's bonefish, tarpon, and permit fisheries is in jeopardy, with a vote due at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting on Wednesday, February 13 2013.
The vote is for the new designations only, not which fish species are assigned to these new designations. Actions on each species will be taken at a later date, such as to make bonefish and tarpon catch and release only. But none of that can happen if these new rules are not approved first.
Whether you are a resident of Florida or an angler who travels to Florida to fish, contact the commissioners to let them know you support the new Sportfish and Gamefish rules. Sportfish will be defined as species for which there would be no commercial sale, possession or harvest; no recreational harvest or possession (read that as catch and release only); hook and line only.
Gamefish will be defined as species for which there would be no commercial harvest, possession, or sale; recreational harvest only (within season, size, and bag limits). At present, fish are only categorized as commercial harvest and sale versus no commercial harvest and sale. This new designation would codify the recreational status of these species.
Creating Gamefish and Sportfish designations in Florida will highlight some of the state's most valuable recreational fish for today and future generations. These designations will also ensure that recreational anglers can enjoy a traditional gamefish for their table at home, and that the state's world-renown catch and release fisheries remain healthy.