News Releases

FWC extends emergency snook-fishing closure

News Release

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.



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