Final Verdict: New Regulations for Florida Permit

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Final Verdict: New Regulations for Florida Permit

After nearly two years on formulating new regulations for permit....

On June 9, 2011, Permit conservation in Florida entered a new era. It was on this date that the Commissioners of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously to accept the recommendations of their staff, and institute new regulations for permit. The new regulations didn’t go as far as BTT had hoped, but are a giant step in the right direction, and represent a good move for conservation of the permit fishery in Florida.

After working with FWC staff and Commissioners for nearly two years on formulating new regulations for permit, BTT is pleased that FWC has taken this positive step to ensure a healthy fishery into the future. These new regulations will better protect populations of what outgoing Commission Chair Rodney Barreto called the ‘rock star of the flats’. The new regulations will help protect the important flats fisheries in South Florida.

In addition, FWC is now partnering with BTT in Costa’s Project Permit, a statewide tagging program that will provide much needed information on permit movements, fishing effort, catch rates, and fish size, all important for future management.

Effective August 31, 2011, the new regulations for permit will become:

- Permit will be regulated alone (current regulations lump permit with pompano and African pompano)

- State regulations will be extended to Federal waters (currently, there are no regulations of permit in Federal waters)

- A new Special Permit Zone (SPZ) will be created, which will include all state and federal waters south of a line running due east from Cape Florida and south of a line running due west from Cape Sable. The remainder of the state (north of these lines) makes up another management zone.

Within the SPZ:

- commercial harvest of permit will be prohibited

- the recreational fishery has a minimum size of 22” fork length, and daily bag limit of one per person per day or two per vessel

- No harvest during a spawning season closure from May through July (catch and release fishing will be allowed)

- In State waters, only hook and line can be used to fish for permit

- Spearfishing will be allowed in Federal waters

Outside of the SPZ:

- There will be a recreational slot limit of 11 – 22 inches fork length, daily bag limit of two per person per day, with an allowance for one permit over 22 inches fork length

- A vessel limit of two permit larger than 22 inches per day

- In State waters, only hook and line can be used. Spearfishing is allowed in Federal waters.

- No commercial harvest if allowed, however a bycatch is allowed for commercial fishers targeting other species with nets (250 permit per trip is allowed as bycatch).

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