Several regulatory changes aimed at achieving fishery management goals in Biscayne National Park go into effect starting July 1.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will return in five years to provide an update on monitoring and progress toward management goals and to evaluate the effectiveness of these changes.
Changes effective July 1, 2020:
• Increasing the minimum size limit for several targeted species including a variety of snapper species (gray, lane, mutton, schoolmaster and yellowtail); red grouper; two species of grunts (white and bluestriped); and gray triggerfish.
o Transit through the park will be allowed while in possession of fish legally caught outside the park that do not meet the new park-specific minimum size limits.
• Establishing a 10-fish per person aggregate harvest and possession limit for recreational harvest of select commonly targeted fish. (see list below)
o Transit of these species in excess of the 10-fish aggregate bag limit is not allowed through the park. This does not affect bag limits or transit of species not included in the aggregate.
• Establishing Coral Reef Protection Areas inside Biscayne National Park where traps and lobstering will be prohibited year-round.
• Establishing a trap-free zone near Biscayne National Park headquarters.
• Establishing inshore and offshore no-trawl zones within the park.
These changes were made because, as part of the Fishery Management Plan, the FWC and the National Park Service agreed that the FWC would develop fishing regulations for the park with the goal of increasing the size and abundance of targeted species by at least 20% within the park.
The following species are included in the 10-fish per person aggregate harvest and possession limit for recreational harvest:
· Snapper: gray, lane, mutton, schoolmaster, yellowtail.
· Grouper: red, black, rock hind, red hind, coney, graysby.
· Triggerfish: gray, ocean.
· Jacks: permit, Florida pompano, African pompano, blue runner, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, crevalle jack, yellow jack.
· Drum: spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum.
· Porgies: sheepshead, jolthead porgy, whitebone porgy, knobbed porgy, sheepshead porgy.
· Flounder: Gulf, southern, summer, fringed.
· Other: Hogfish, great barracuda, tripletail, all snook species, all grunts, cero mackerel, ladyfish, silver jenny.