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September 4, 2003
CONTACT:  Lee Schlesinger (850) 487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) today approved rule amendments to raise the minimum size limit for pompano and permit and lower the daily recreational pompano/permit bag limit.  The Commission is attempting to eliminate over-fishing of pompano by allowing more pompano to reach sexual maturity and reducing overall landings. 

The latest stock assessment issued by the FWCs Florida Marine Research Institute concluded that pompano is undergoing over-fishing on both coasts of Florida.  Scientists estimate pompano landings need to be reduced by approximately 10 percent to eliminate over-fishing.

To achieve this goal, the FWC passed new rules to increase the minimum size limit for pompano and permit from 10 to 11 inches fork length for all fishermen.  Rules also lower the aggregate recreational bag limit for pompano and permit from 10 to six fish per person per day.  Aggregate bag and size limits for pompano and permit are used because it is difficult to differentiate the two species at small sizes.

Rules also apply the 250-pompano commercial harvest and landing limit to fish caught in federal waters, where no limit currently applies.  Gill net fishermen who possess a pompano endorsement and fish in federal waters between Cape Sable and Hurricane Pass in southwest Florida are not affected by this action.

The FWC estimates that the combined effect of these new rules will reduce the total harvest of pompano by 14.7 percent.

Another new rule eliminates the pompano special activity license program.  This program has not established that a viable pompano gill net fishery exists in federal waters, other than in southwest Florida.  Elimination of this program will prevent further expansion of the commercial pompano fishery.

The maximum size limit for pompano and permit remains at 20 inches fork length.  Recreational anglers may keep one pompano or permit greater than 20 inches, and the sale of pompano less than 11 inches or greater than 20 inches is prohibited.  Pompano and permit are designated as a restricted species, and must be landed in a whole condition.  Certain gear and other commercial regulations also apply.

The pompano and permit rules take effect Jan. 1.

In a related development, Commissioners directed staff to schedule public workshops in south Florida to receive input on a proposal to establish a daily vessel limit for permit greater than 20 inches in length.  This proposal is intended to reduce the recreational harvest of large permit in Florida, which is considered to be a prized game fish.





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