The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a limited fall season and several conservation measures governing gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico state waters during their July meeting.
“By approving this limited season and conservation measures, we are hoping to balance harvest opportunities for recreational anglers with continued rebuilding of this species,” said Commissioner Mike Sole.
Due to the 2016 federal quota being exceeded, the Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season was closed in state and federal waters in 2017. The dates for the limited season will be posted online and can be found at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.”
The commission also approved changes that will go into effect after federal regulations go into effect. Those changes will decrease the recreational daily bag limit from two to one fish per person, increase the recreational size limit from 14 to 15 inches fork length and create a January through February recreational closure in addition to the current June through July annual spawning closure.
Gag grouper: The FWC approved lengthening the Gulf of Mexico gag grouper recreational season in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor (Appalachia Bay) by opening the season from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.
The Commission also approved changing the gag grouper commercial minimum size limit in Gulf state waters from 22 to 24 inches.
There is a seven-month season in the rest of the Gulf that runs June 1 through Dec. 31.
Spotted seatrout: The FWC has scheduled a series of workshops to gather input on spotted seatrout management. Their is only one workshop scheduled for the region. That takes place Aug. 2 in St. Petersburg at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Eighth Ave SE. Each workshop is scheduled to run from 6-8 p.m.
If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online by visiting MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.
Honors: The Florida Guides Association recently honored two officers of the FWC for their conservation efforts.
Capt. Pat Kelly, Florida Guides Association president, presented FWC officers Peter “Sean” Gaudion and Michael Bibeau of Hillsborough County with the “Trained Eyes Coastwatchers” Officer of the Year award.
The association also honored Gil McRae, the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, with the Capt. Phil Chapman Conservation Award at the Commission meeting in Orlando on July 11. The award is presented to those who display a passionate commitment to the conservation of Florida’s marine fisheries.
Red tide: The Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, was not detected in testing off the Manatee or Sarasota counties during the previous week. The organism was detected at background levels in three sampoles off Pinellas County. However, background is the lowest level of detection (it is the same level as nonexistent). There is no threat to swimmers or boaters. No change is anticipated over the next week.
To learn more about various organisms that have been known to cause algal blooms in Florida waters, see the FWRI Red Tide Flickr page. Archived status maps can also be found on Flickr.