FWC extends emergency snook-fishing closure
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Media contact: Henry Cabbage, 850-488-8843
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) has temporarily extended the emergency closure of
snook harvest and possession in Florida through Sept. 16.
This action will continue the prohibition on
harvest and possession of snook in effect since Jan. 16. The FWC
enacted the closure in response to possible effects of prolonged
cold weather on the snook population last winter. Catch-and-release
fishing for snook is still allowed under this extended closure.
"We took immediate action to prohibit harvest of
snook as a proactive, precautionary response to the freeze.
We want to make sure that if we reopen the fishery, we will be able
to do it knowing the snook population is secure and will continue
to rebound from the effects of that unprecedented cold snap," FWC
Chairman Rodney Barreto said. "Snook is one of Florida's
premier game fish species. Anglers expect us to manage them
carefully, and we will."
The temporary extension will enable FWC
Commissioners to hear a report by staff at their Sept. 1-3 meeting
at Pensacola Beach. They will review the latest information on the
status of the snook population, receive public input and determine
whether to reopen the fall harvest season or continue to prohibit
harvest and possession as a precautionary measure.
The extension of the snook closure will remain in
effect until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 17. The season normally
would have opened on Sept. 1 statewide.
While the temporary harvest prohibition remains in
effect, no person may harvest or possess snook in state or federal
waters off Florida. The FWC may reopen the fishery, if warranted,
before the order expires or, if necessary, the agency may extend
the closure by issuing another executive order.
On Sept. 2, during the meeting in Pensacola Beach,
Commissioners will hear a report on the extent of damage to the
snook population and consider a range of management options
covering the next 12 months.