The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has approved regulation changes for cobia and redfish in state waters and a temporary modification to the 2022 recreational blueline tilefish season in Atlantic state waters.
The proposed management regions and regulation changes for redfish would:
- Modify the redfish management regions. (See map below)
- Prohibit captain and crew from retaining a bag limit when on a for-hire trip.
- Reduce the off-the-water transport limit from six to four fish per person.
- Increase the bag limit for the Big Bend region from one to two fish per person
- Reduce the eight-fish vessel limit in each of the proposed management regions:
Panhandle, Big Bend, Northeast: four fish.
Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Southwest, Southeast: two fish.
- Allow only catch-and-release fishing for redfish in the Indian River Lagoon region.
“With this new management approach, this agency is committed to continuing to work with our partners and stakeholders in finding solutions for redfish” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.
Staff plans to continue to gather input on the proposed rules and will return to the Commission for a Final Rule Hearing later this year.
The modification of redfish management regions and regulations, as part of the new management approach, will better capture regional differences and improve angler satisfaction, the FWC said.
Changes effective July 1, 2022, for cobia in state waters include:
- Increasing the minimum size limit from 33 inches to 36 inches fork length for all state waters.
- Reducing the commercial bag limit from two to one fish per harvester per day for Atlantic state waters.
- Reducing the recreational and commercial vessel limit from six to two fish per vessel per day for Atlantic state waters.
These changes are consistent with pending regulations in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic federal waters.
A recent stock assessment determined the cobia stock is undergoing overfishing, and as a result, reductions in current harvest are needed. These changes for commercial and recreational harvesters in state and federal waters are necessary to end overfishing, improve stock abundance and ensure future cobia fishing opportunities, FWC said.
The 2022 recreational season for blueline tilefish will be open May 1 - July 25 in state waters, closing July 26.
Typically, the blueline tilefish season is open May 1 - Aug. 31 in Atlantic state and federal waters. However, NOAA Fisheries projects that the recreational catch limit will be met by July 26 and is closing the fishery to prevent overfishing from occurring. Modifications to the recreational season in state waters are consistent with the recent changes in federal waters.
For current recreational blueline tilefish regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Blueline tilefish.” This page will be updated with the new regulations when they take effect.