Spotted Seatrout Season Closes in the South Zone

Spotted
seatrout season closed in the South Zone of Florida November 1, and remains
closed to all harvest through December 31. The South Zone is described as all
waters south of Volusia-Flagler
County line on the east
coast, and south of Fred Howard Park on the west coast. All areas north of this
zone will be closed to seatrout harvest during the month of February.

Seatrout
season is closed during these periods to help assure enough of the fish
population survives to keep the seatrout stocks stable. November, December and
February were selected as the closure months because seatrout have a higher
release survival rate during periods of cooler weather.

Recreational
and commercial fishermen have been awaiting the upcoming November 16-17 meeting
of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) which has
recently intimated the possibility of relaxing the rules on spotted seatrout
because of an improvement in the overall population.

Proposed
trout rule changes include the elimination of closed seasons for recreational
anglers, expanding the commercial season for seatrout from three months to five,
allowing for the commercial trip limit to be increased from 75 to 150 per day
if two licensed fishermen are aboard the vessel, and the allowance of a 75
trout bycatch for commercial fishermen using beach or haul seine net gear.

These
proposed changes have been met with reluctance by many of the state’s
conservation groups and fishing clubs that along with their members feel the
seatrout population has not experienced a comeback dramatic enough to relax the
current regulations on the species. Among the groups that have written letters
to the state in hopes of encouraging FWC Commissioners to vote against any
change in the current seatrout rules are the Coastal Conservation Association,
the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and the Snook Foundation.  
 

The FWC
meeting on spotted seatrout rules will take place at the Key Largo Grande
Resort and Beach Club, 97000 South Overseas Hwy., Key Largo. Meetings will
begin at 8:30 a.m. each day with time set aside for public comment.
For
a complete agenda of the FWC November 16-17 meeting, including presentations on
spotted seatrout, redfish and more, visit www.MyFWC.com.

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