Contact: Clay Chester, Southeastern States Coordinator
On June 15, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of support for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) proposed changes to flounder regulations.
According to harvest data in Florida, the flounder population started to experience fluctuations in 2000 with a general decline beginning in 2012. FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) recently conducted a stock assessment which indicated a general declining population trend and likelihood of being overfished and undergoing overfishing.
CSF specifically supported FWC recommendations for increasing the minimum size limit from 12 inches to 14 inches (recreational and commercial), reducing the recreational daily bag limit from 10 to 5 fish per person, setting a commercial daily vessel limit of 150 fish, establishing a closure for flounder fishing during November (recreational and commercial) and extending FWC flounder regulations into federal waters.
The letter stated, “These measures, individually and combined, provide a data-driven approach to ensure long-term viability of this resource. Amending flounder regulations, which have not been updated since being implemented in 1996, would be a proactive approach to addressing population declines while also maintaining flounder angling opportunities throughout most of the year.”
CSF supports the efforts by the FWC to address the declining flounder populations as the fishery is important to recreational anglers in the state. According to an economic impact study conducted by FWRI, recreational saltwater fishing in Florida contributes $6.6 billion to the economy while supporting 96,801 jobs.
After considering public input, including input received during the virtual flounder workshops that were held earlier this month, the agency will present the FWC’s Commissioners with their recommendations on the proposed regulations. The Commission will consider these proposals at their next scheduled meeting on July 22-23.
CSF will continue to engage in the process moving forward to support proactive measures to rebuild the flounder fishery while maintaining opportunities for recreational anglers.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?