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February 2014

Issue: COMMISSION MEETING
Action: Marine Fisheries items discussed Feb. 12 and 13 in Tampa
Information: Several marine fisheries items will be discussed at the Feb. 12-13
Commission meeting in Tampa including Atlantic Recreational Reef Fish Bag
Limits for Captain and Crew of For-Hire Vessels, Gulf of Mexico recreational red
snapper season, commercial sea cucumber harvest, and a staff report on the
Florida Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit Proposal.

Issue: SNOOK
→Atlantic
Action: Season opens
Information: The recreational season for snook opens Feb. 1 in Atlantic state
and federal waters (from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north), including
Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. Anglers may keep one snook per
day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length in Atlantic state
or federal waters. A snook permit is required to harvest snook. This season
remains open through May 31. The Gulf season will open March 1.

Issue: REEF FISH
→Gulf
Action: Venting tools no longer required
Information: As of Jan. 24, venting tools are no longer required when fishing for
reef fish in Gulf state waters.
Venting tools are hollow, sharpened instruments and are one way to treat
barotrauma, a condition that occurs when fish are brought quickly to the surface
from deep water.

Contact for more info:
850-487-0554 or HTmarine@myfwc.comTH

Issue: SWORDFISH
Action: Recreational and commercial changes effective Feb. 13
Information:
Changes affecting commercial harvest include:
• Designating swordfish as a restricted species.
• Exempting commercial harvesters who possess a Swordfish General
Commercial permit or a Highly Migratory Species Charter/Headboat permit
(when not on a for-hire trip) from the recreational bag and vessel limits. Permit
holders must abide by HMS regional vessel limits.
• Allowing the sale of commercially-caught swordfish under these permits.
• Closing state waters to commercial harvest if adjacent federal waters are
closed.
• Requiring wholesale dealers purchasing swordfish to possess a valid federal
Atlantic Swordfish Dealer permit. This change affects wholesale dealers in both
the Atlantic and Gulf.
• Allowing transit of swordfish through state waters when harvested in federal
waters with gear that is legal to use in federal waters.
Changes that affect commercial and recreational harvest:
• Restricting gear to hook and line in state waters.
• Modifying the minimum cleithrum-to-keel (CK) limit from 29 to 25 inches for all
harvesters. The cleithrum is the bony area right behind the gill slit, and the keel
is the horizontal ridge right before the tail fin (see photo). There is no change to
the lower jaw fork length measurement also used when measuring swordfish.










Issue: GROUPER
→Gulf
Action: Recreational season will not close Feb. 1

Information: A closure affecting several species of grouper in Gulf state and
federal waters (excluding Monroe County) has been removed and the season
will not close as it has in previous years. The Feb. 1 through March 31 closure
was removed at the Sept. 2013 Commission meeting. This closure would have
affected black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind.
Monroe County grouper are managed under Atlantic regulations.)

Issue: SEASON UPDATES
Action: Upcoming recreational season openings and closures for February-
March
Information: The following species have upcoming season openings/closures:
(May not include all harvest openings/closures. View regulations online at
MyFWC.com for more.)
Feb. 1 – Snook (Atlantic) opens
March 1 – Snook (Gulf) opens

Source:  Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
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