FWC proposes increase to red drum bag limit in northern Florida

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on
Wednesday proposed a draft rule that would raise the recreational
daily red drum bag limit from one fish to two per person in
northern Florida. In addition, the FWC is proposing to create three
regional management areas for red drum and establish a statewide
eight-fish red drum daily vessel limit. The Commission also intends
to develop ways to modify the red drum off-the-water possession
limit.

“We’ve come a long way since the early 1990s, when red drum
stocks were largely depleted, but the management of red drum in
Florida is turning out to be a success story,” said Commissioner
Kathy Barco. “The fishery is holding its own in southern Florida,
and numbers of red drum in northern parts of the state are now at a
point where it’s safe to give back some fish to anglers.”

The FWC has strictly managed red drum (also called redfish,
channel bass and red bass) for more than 20 years to help rebuild
overfished populations. A 2008 FWC stock assessment indicates that
annual management goals for red drum are consistently being
exceeded in areas of northeastern and northwestern Florida.

As a result, the FWC is proposing establishment of three
management areas for red drum in Florida (which are the same as
established management areas for spotted seatrout) to better target
its management approaches for this popular Florida fish. In all
waters in the northwest management area (Escambia through Pasco
counties) and in the northeast management area (Flagler through
Nassau counties), the FWC proposal would raise the daily
recreational bag limit for red drum from one fish to two.

The Commission is also proposing a statewide eight fish daily
vessel limit for red drum, and will consider management options
regarding ways to modify the off-the-water red drum possession
limit.

More information regarding the FWC’s red drum draft rule
proposals is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from
the Feb. 23-24 meeting agenda, and a final public hearing on these
rule proposals will take place in April.

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