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FWC approves draft proposal for flounder

By FWC - | Oct 28, 2020

At its October meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved draft changes to the management of Florida’s flounder fishery, including several updates that were made since the first draft rule proposal was presented in July. The changes will be brought back to the commission in December for final consideration.

A recent stock status update suggested that the flounder fishery has been in a general declining trend in recent years and is likely overfished and undergoing overfishing on the Atlantic coast. Other south Atlantic and Gulf states have also reported declines in flounder populations and have been making their own regulation changes.

The FWC has been working with stakeholders to gather input on the fishery through workshops, online commenting and more. The draft rule changes include:

– Extend all FWC flounder regulations into federal waters.

– Increase minimum size limit from 12 inches to 14 inches total length (recreational and commercial).

– Reduce recreational bag limit from 10 to five fish per person.

– Establish an Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 recreational closed season.

– For commercial harvesters using allowable gear: Establish a commercial trip and vessel limit of 150 flounder from Dec. 1 through Oct. 14, and 50 flounder from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30.

– Modify the incidental bycatch limit for commercial harvesters using non-allowable gear from 50 pounds to 50 fish.

– Create a federal waters trawl bycatch limit of 150 flounder from Dec. 1 through Oct. 14, and 50 fish from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30.

To share your input on the draft proposal, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.