PINELLAS, Fla. – At its October Commission meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved draft changes to the management of Florida’s flounder fishery including several updates that were made since the first draft rule proposal presented in July.
The changes approved today will be brought back to the Commission in December for final consideration.
A recent stock status update suggested that the flounder fishery statewide has been in a general declining trend in recent years and is likely overfished and undergoing overfishing on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Other south Atlantic and Gulf states have also reported declines in flounder populations and have been making their own regulation changes. FWC has been working with stakeholders to gather input on this fishery through workshops, online commenting, and more.
Draft rule changes include:
- Extend ALL FWC flounder regulations into federal waters.
- Increase minimum size limit from 12 inches to 14 inches total length (recreational and commercial).
- Reduce recreational bag limit from 10 to five fish per person.
- Establish an Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 recreational closed season.
- For commercial harvesters using allowable gear: Establish a commercial trip and vessel limit of 150 flounder from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 flounder from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30.
- Modify the incidental bycatch limit for commercial harvesters using non-allowable gear from 50 pounds to 50 fish.
- Create a federal waters trawl bycatch limit of 150 flounder from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 fish from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30.
To share your input on this draft proposal or to see more about what items the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management is working on, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.
Learn more about flounder regulations at MyFWC.com/Marine.