At its February meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several regulatory changes aimed at achieving fishery management goals in Biscayne National Park. As part of the Fishery Management Plan, the FWC and the National Park Service agreed that FWC would develop fishing regulations for the park with the goal of increasing the size and abundance of targeted species by at least 20% within the park.
“FWC is committed to reviewing the effectiveness of these changes every five years to ensure we are not only meeting fishery management goals, but to continue determining what changes are effective to maintain this state as the Fishing Capital of the World,” said FWC Chairman Robert Spottswood.
Approved changes will go into effect July 1, 2020, and include:
- Increasing the minimum size limit for several targeted species including a variety of snapper species (gray, lane, mutton, schoolmaster and yellowtail); red grouper; two species of grunts (white and bluestriped); and gray triggerfish.
- Transit through the park will be allowed while in possession of fish legally caught outside the park that do not meet the new park-specific minimum size limits.
- Establishing a 10-fish per person aggregate harvest and possession limit for recreational harvest of select commonly targeted fish. (see list below)
- Transit NOT allowed through the park while in possession of more than the 10-fish per person aggregate.
- Establishing Coral Reef Protection Areas inside Biscayne National Park where traps and lobstering would be prohibited year-round.
- Establishing a trap-free zone near Biscayne National Park headquarters.
- Establishing inshore and offshore no-trawl zones within the park.
Staff will return in five years to provide an update on monitoring and progress toward management goals and to evaluate the effectiveness and need for the Coral Reef Protection Areas.
For more information, view the presentation given at the Commission meeting at MyFWC.com/Commission by clicking on “Commission Meetings” and the agenda under “February 19-20, 2020.”