Florida Moves Forward With New Tarpon, Bonefish Regs

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission recently approved new angling regulations for tarpon and bonefish--citing their economic value as a recreational resource--and loosened regulations for lionfish and snook.

Here are some of the rules, if they get formally approved in September, according to an article in the Key News:

- Angling for tarpon and bonefish will be for catch-and-release only.
- The harvest of one tarpon for and IGFA or state record purposes will be allowed with the possession of one tarpon tag, available for $50 per person, per year.
- Anglers will be prohibited from using jigs attached to circle hooks to catch tarpon--a controversial practice popular in many tarpon tournaments.
- Tarpon longer than 40 inches must remain in the water when photographed, tagged or weighed.
- The state will discontinue the bonefish tournament exemption rule that allowed anglers to temporarily possess bonefish while transporting them to a tournament scale.

In addition, the commission followed up on a previous promise and voted to reopen the waters in the Gulf, Keys and Everglades National Park to snook fishing after a three-year closure. They also voted to allow a permanent open season for lionfish spearing without the a recreational fishing license or bag limits.

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