The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reviewed the status of snook populations in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters at its June 12 meeting in Lakeland before deciding to allow the recreational harvest of Gulf of Mexico snook to reopen this September.
The harvest of snook in state and federal Gulf waters has been closed since early 2010, when a prolonged cold snap negatively impacted the population, particularly juvenile snook.
The Atlantic recreational harvest of snook will also open Sept. 1.
In 2012, the FWC extended the temporary closure through August 2013, in an effort to further protect the species and give it time to more fully recover.
The FWC Research Institute confirms that once reopened, the stock should continue to rebuild, thanks to management efforts, including regular closed seasons and the slot limit, which protects both juveniles and the more productive larger fish.
When the Gulf recreational harvest reopens Sept. 1, all bag limits, size limits, gear restrictions and closed seasons will be in effect. This includes the one-fish-per-person, per-day bag limit, the 28- to 33-inch total length slot limit and the two annual closures in Gulf waters, Dec. 1-end of February, and May 1-Aug. 31.
The next stock assessment for snook is scheduled for 2015.
To learn more, visit MyFWC.com.