Stricter rules regulate recreational snook season as it begins Thursday

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Fishermen have been waiting for eight months. But as snook fishing season begins Sept. 1, some strict rules will regulate the harvest.
 
The fish has been regulated in Florida for more than 50 years, but currently the rules are more strict.  Cold weather in the winter of 2009-2010 impacted the snook population. Since December of 2010, fishermen have only been allowed to catch and release.
 
This season will be different in various parts of our area, since Florida Fish and Wildlife has determined that the Atlantic coast population was less effected by the cold weather than Gulf Coast snook. 
 
The regular season begins Thursday for snook in the Atlantic coastal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River.  There will be a daily bag limit of one snook per angler, and they must be between 28 and 32 inches in length. 
 
Snook fishing is not allowed in other areas to help the population rebound, so fishermen are limited to catch-and-release in Florida's gulf, Everglades National Park and Monroe County state and federal waters until August 31 of 2012.
 
Breaking the rules can have consequences. Last week, Florida Fish and Wildlife reported a Palm Beach County man was charged with possession of snook during closed season after he was caught with ten speared snook. Florida Fish and Wildlife says charges are pending against two other men.

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