Monthly Archives: March 2016

New Boundaries for Boca Grande Gear Restrictions

Boca Grande Gear Restriction Area

Boca Grande Gear Restriction Area – CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP

News from FWC:

Recent changes to the buoys marking the Boca Grande Channel will affect tarpon anglers and others fishing in Boca Grande Pass during the months of April, May, and June.  

Because of natural shifts in the depth, location, and configuration of shoals bordering the channel, the U.S. Coast Guard recently moved several buoys that marked the Boca Grande Channel to better align with the current location of the channel.  One of the buoys that was moved (Flashing Red Buoy #12) was used as a reference point to mark the boundaries of Boca Grande Pass for the purposes of implementing specific fishing gear restrictions in the area.  Flashing Red Buoy #12 was removed and was replaced with a new buoy (Charlotte Harbor Channel LB 6), located approximately a quarter of a mile to the East-Southeast of the old buoy.  This change required that the boundaries of the Boca Grande Pass gear restriction area be updated to incorporate the location of the new buoy marking the entrance to the Pass (see map).  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued an Executive Order to ensure that the area where the Boca Grande Pass gear restrictions apply is updated before the regulations take effect on April 1, 2016.  FWC staff plans to recommend the Commission permanently correct the name and location of the new buoy through the formal rule change process at the June 2016 Commission meeting in Apalachicola.

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Commercial Fishing in Southwest Florida

Image credit: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

Image credit: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

Southwest Florida has a long tradition of commercial fishing in its rivers, bays, and Gulf waters. In 2015 over 22 million pounds of wild harvested fish and shellfish including shrimp, blue and stone crab, grouper, mackerel, and mullet among others were harvested by commercial fishermen and landed in the seven-coastal counties of Southwest Florida. In addition, approximately 285 wholesalers and 750 retailers bought and sold seafood in this region contributing to Florida’s multi-billion dollar seafood industry.

The fisheries in Southwest Florida are monitored and managed at the state level by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and federally by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Closed areas and seasons, size and daily limits, trip tickets, and limited access into a fishery are all tools commonly used to manage Florida’s fisheries. In addition, managers establish annual catch limits and accountability measures to ensure the long-term health of the fisheries they manage. Fishermen use a variety of gear and methods to harvest their catch and they must also follow rules to minimize impacts to the surrounding environment and marine life.

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