FWC Clarifies: Catch and release fishing still allowed for snook, bonefish and tarpon

For immediate release: January 17, 2010

Contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

Catch and release fishing still allowed for snook, bonefish and tarpon

While the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recently issued an executive order on Jan. 15, which temporarily extends closed harvest seasons for snook statewide and establishes temporary statewide closed harvest seasons for bonefish and tarpon, the FWC advises anglers that catch and release fishing for these important game fish species is still allowed.  The FWC appreciates angler support for taking conservation measures that will help protect saltwater fish and provide time for the FWC to evaluate the possible impacts to fish populations that may have occurred because of the recent prolonged cold weather event in Florida.

 The order, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 16, provides that no person may harvest or possess snook in state and federal waters off Florida until September and establishes a temporary prohibition on the harvest and possession of bonefish and tarpon from state and federal waters off Florida through March 31.

The FWC advises anglers that this order only prohibits the harvest or possession of snook, bonefish and tarpon during the closed periods.  Anglers may still catch and release these species during these temporary closures, and the FWC encourages everyone to handle and release these fish carefully to help ensure their survival upon release.  Information regarding proper handling and release of fish is available online at http://catchandrelease.org/Catch_and_Release_web.pdf.

More information on the FWC’s executive order regarding the snook, bonefish and tarpon temporary harvest closures, and information regarding another FWC executive order issued on Jan. 15, which temporarily suspends certain saltwater fishing regulations to allow for the collection and disposal of dead fish killed by cold weather, is available online at MyFWC.com.

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