Bass Harvest Regulation Review
Regulations are an important aspect of fisheries management. Balancing the need to keep rules simple and convenient, with specifying custom rules suited to each water body is a challenge.
A survey of freshwater fishing license holders, fishermen, and interested citizens was conducted prior to development of the Black Bass Management Plan to provide FWC staff with public input on fisheries management issues. Many of the responses and comments focused on regulations and protection for largemouth bass. In response to these concerns, a team of management and research biologists began reviewing current bass regulations to determine if present rules are effective or if changes are needed. The group began with “statewide” largemouth bass regulations, and developed a goal and desired future condition:
- Goal of Largemouth Bass Regulations: Provide optimum sustained use of Florida’s bass fisheries with an emphasis on production of high quality and trophy bass.
- Desired Future Condition: Use the least restrictive regulations possible to protect trophy bass and maintain a statewide bass fishery with a healthy population that provides diverse angling opportunities, including controlled harvest and high angler satisfaction.
Data from current state regulations has been reviewed and statistical modeling completed to compare current regulations to possible alternatives. The group is working with University of Florida human dimensions experts to incorporate sound analyss of potential future regulations that enhance public input during the regulation development process, to provide the greatest enjoyment by anglers, while protecting the long-term quality of bass fisheries. Management of all black bass species, including Suwannee bass and shoal bass, will be considered in any potential future regulations. Water bodies requiring a special regulation different from the “statewide” regulation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, while keeping in mind the need to keep regulations relatively simple and consistent so as not to discourage anglers from participating.
For additional information contact fisheries biologist Allen Martin, 386-758-0525; Allen.Martin@MyFWC.com.