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FWC makes snook, redfish temporarily catch-and-release in red tide area

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has temporarily made snook and redfish catch-and-release only from the northernmost point of Anna Maria Island in Manatee County to Gordon Pass in Collier County. This was done through an Executive Order in response to the naturally-occurring red tide bloom in southwest Florida and is in effect until the next FWC Commission meeting, which starts Sept. 26.

“I support Executive Director Eric Sutton’s decision to implement the Executive Order as we continue to manage this world-class fishery for future generations,” said FWC Chairman Bo Rivard. “We will continue working with our partners and will evaluate next steps at our Commission meeting the end of September.”

Sutton has spent significant time in the areas most impacted by naturally-occurring red tide. He and staff will continue to work with local communities and partners as the FWC manages this issue to ensure recovery of the fisheries.

“We’ve seen the devastation to the redfish and snook populations in southwest Florida, and we support the catch-and-release initiative taken by FWC,” said Brian Gorski, Executive Director of Coastal Conservation Association Florida. “In working with the FWC on this initiative, we’ve heard support from members and guides throughout the state who also understand the need for such a change, to ensure that generations to come can enjoy the thrill of catching one of these iconic species.”

The FWC thanks Gov. Rick Scott for his continual leadership and proactive response during this time. FWC staff will continue working with partners moving forward, including local governments and stakeholders.

Regulations outside of those counties remain unchanged, including the Sept. 1 snook season opening that occurs in other Gulf and Atlantic state waters.