FWC Commissioners approve rules to conserve Gulf striped bass

At their Nov. 30-Dec. 1 meeting, Commissioners with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved rules to help conserve Gulf striped bass in the lower Ochlockonee River in Wakulla County.

Based on FWC research that identified high rates of recreational harvest on broodfish (breeding sized) Gulf striped bass, staff proposed rule language to change the harvest length limit. The bag limit of three fish per day for striped bass will remain in effect. The proposed change to the length limit would change from 18 inches minimum size to no minimum size with only one fish over 24 inches. Gulf striped bass populations are dependent on stock enhancement via hatchery production and protection of these larger-sized striped bass is necessary for the continued survival of the species.

“This rule change is a positive step for Gulf striped bass, an important sport fish in Florida,” said FWC Commissioner Gary Lester. “We appreciate staff working with stakeholders on these ongoing conservation efforts for the future of this fishery.”

Staff held public meetings with local anglers to discuss research and management options for this fishery at Lake Talquin in May 2022 and an additional meeting in November to discuss the rule language. Anglers were supportive of using regulation changes as a management tool. Further stakeholder engagement will occur on this rule.

For questions about these rules or fishing for Gulf striped bass, email Christopher.Paxton@MyFWC.com or visit the striped bass profile on MyFWC.com for more information about this species.