The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has adopted new regulations to protect permit. The primary action was to extend Florida state regulations into offshore federal waters and further limit the take of the large spawning size fish.
â€œIt was extremely important to adopt the permit rule modifications to get controls in federal waters where none existed.â€ said Ted Forsgren, CCA Florida Executive Director. â€œThe regulations adopted by the Commissioners are a great set of amendments and new regulations which will protect this outstanding fishery for many yearsâ€.
FWC Commissioners Ken Wright and Rodney Barreto led the charge for changes at the Commission level. Commissioner Wright noted that the permit rule along with the recent bonefish rule plus our great tarpon fishery puts Florida in the international spotlight for anglers to pursue and catch the coveted â€œflats grand slamâ€, a tarpon, bonefish, and permit all caught in the same day. â€œAnglers travel all over the world for such an opportunity and now we are going to be in a position to outcompete Belize and other countries for those angler dollarsâ€ said Wright. â€œIt is a good thing for Floridas economy and our status as the â€œFishing Capital of the Worldâ€.
Commissioner Barreto echoed the comments and stated that permit were one of the â€œrock starsâ€ of Floridaâ€™s saltwater fishery.
More than a year ago, conservation minded anglers were voicing concerns over the lack of control in federal waters and the possibility of sudden development of a market or other exploitation of large permit aggregated on wrecks and reefs just like the problem that occurred with amberjack. The new rule extends the state limits on take of large permit to federal waters and also sets up a Special Permit Zone which includes all state and federal waters from the Cape Florida area south through the Florida Keys up to a line running due west of Cape Sable in the Everglades National Park. In this zone the take of all permit is prohibited during the months of May, June and July to protect permit aggregated on reefs and wrecks.
Throughout the process CCA Florida, Florida Guides Association, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, and other interested anglers and guides worked with the Commission staff to develop amendments for the Commissioners consideration.
â€œWe greatly appreciate all the work that the Commissioners and their staff have done to develop these new protections for permitâ€ said CCA Floridaâ€™s Forsgren. â€œIt is great for fisheries conservation of permit and the economic value of saltwater fishing to Floridaâ€™s economyâ€.