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FWC implements new regulations for flounder amid population decline

Posted at 7:24 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 07:26:04-05

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has implemented new regulations for flounder. A popular species that officials said is declining in certain areas in Florida.

“The changes while they may affect some people and their fishing, this is a way to make sure they will be around in the future for folks to participate in,” said FWC spokeswoman Amanda Nelley.

Starting March 1, 2021 the following changes will go into effect for flounder:

  • Extending ALL Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission(FWC) flounder regulations into federal waters.
  • Increasing the minimum size limit from 12 inches to 14 inches total length (recreational and commercial.)
  • Reducing the recreational daily bag limit from 10 to five fish per person.
  • Establishing an Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 recreational closed season.
  • For commercial harvesters using allowable gear: Establishing a commercial trip and vessel limit of 150 fish from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 fish from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30.
  • Modifying the incidental bycatch limit for commercial harvesters using non-allowable gear from 50 pounds/trip to 50 fish/trip.
  • Creating a federal waters trawl bycatch limit of 150 fish/trip from Dec. 1 – Oct. 14, and 50 fish/trip from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30.

According to FWC, the commission approved these changes at its December 2020 meeting because a stock status update suggested that the flounder fishery statewide has been in a general declining trend and is likely overfished and undergoing overfishing on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Other south Atlantic and Gulf states have also reported declines in flounder populations and have been making their own regulation changes.