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State Fishing Regulations … Are you familiar with yours?

Do you know the current regulations in your state? Yep, this is one of the questions I ask myself every time before I go fishing here in Florida. It seems like “they” change our rules so often you have to consult the rule book before you can jump on your boat to fish these days. Keeping up with all the data and what it means is time consuming and sometimes difficult to just plain understand what they mean. We have federal rules, we have state rules and on and on.

It seems like starting at the state level is the fastest most effective way to know your good to fish.  Here in Florida the FWC does a great job of keeping their website current and even have a newsletter that offers new updates that are easy to understand.  The federal government is a little more tricky. You can sign up for their news bulletins and yes, they will send them to you.  It seems like I get a new one every day.  Some are easily understood and some need you need a lawyer to tell you if it applies to you and how you fish.  So, keeping up with regulations can be tedious.   With all of that said, sometimes I still don’t know if I am fishing under current regulations or not.

So, Do you know? If you live in Florida there are still a lot of people currently NOT following regulations.  Here are the top 3 new rules or rule changes that you may or may not know about. For all the current regulations – click here.

#3 – Red Snapper Season: Gulf Action- State recreational season continues through July 10.  Information:  Recreational season in state waters will remain open daily through July 10. The season will re-open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day. The recreational season in Gulf federal waters is June 1-9 for private anglers and June 1 through July 16 for federally permitted for-hire vessels such as charter boats and head boats. What are state waters? Florida state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles on the Atlantic and from shore to 9 nautical miles on the Gulf. In most places, federal waters extend from where state waters end out to about 200 nautical miles or to where other country’s waters begin. (click here for maps and more info on state waters)

THIS JUST IN (6/8/16)  NOAA Fisheries Extends the Private Angler’s Red Snapper Recreational Fishing Season for 2 days in the Gulf of Mexico

NOAA Fisheries is extending the red snapper recreational fishing season for private anglers in the Gulf of Mexico due to impacts of Tropical Storm Colin. The private angler component’s federal-water fishing season was scheduled to close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) Friday June 10, 2016. NOAA Fisheries is extending the federal season for two additional days; the private angler red snapper federal season will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) Sunday, June 12, 2016. This extension is in response to requests the agency received from concerned anglers.

#2 – Gag and Black Grouper Size Limit Change:  Action: Gag and black grouper size limit changed to 24 inches.  Information: The recreational minimum size limit for gag and black grouper in Gulf of Mexico state waters will change from 22 inches to 24 inches total length starting June 1 to match recent changes in Gulf federal waters. The size limit for gag in Gulf state and federal waters is 24-inches total length and the daily bag limit is two fish per person within the four fish grouper aggregate bag limit.

#1 Reef Permit Survey: Action: Renewal will be on an annual basis, just like a one-year fishing license.  Information:  Every year you must renew your survey, currently it is free, but it is required if you are fishing in the gulf for any reef species.  Who needs to do this? Recreational anglers (resident and non-resident) fishing from a private boat off Florida’s Gulf coast (excluding Monroe County) who intend to harvest, attempt to harvest or possess one or more of the following reef fish species:

  • red snapper
  • gag
  • greater amberjack
  • lesser amberjack
  • banded rudderfish
  • almaco jack
  • red grouper
  • black grouper
  • vermilion snapper
  • gray triggerfish

The following groups will also be required to participate, even though they are exempt from saltwater fishing licensing requirements:

  • anglers who are 65 or older,
  • residents who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces but are not stationed in this state and are home on leave for 30 days or less
  • veterans with disabilities, active or reserve duty military service members and their immediate family and/or an assistant who are participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer, and
  • anglers with multi-year or lifetime licenses, and other anglers that are exempt from having to purchase an annual saltwater fishing license.

Need to renew or sign up for the first time? Click here for all the info at the FWC site.

Here is their video on how to sign up (note: there is no sound to this video)

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