Florida makes tarpon and bonefish catch & release only

IN an example of forward-thinking fisheries management, US style, tarpon and bonefish became catch & release only targets in Florida waters from September 1. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved these proactive management measures at a meeting in June. The catch-and-release proposal was adopted in recognition of the fact that the economic and fishing values of bonefish and tarpon greatly exceed their value as food fishes.

The following changes went into effect in Florida on September 1:

All harvest of tarpon will be eliminated, with the exception of the harvest or possession of a single tarpon when in pursuit of an International Game Fish Association record and in conjunction with a tarpon tag. Tarpon tags will be limited to one per person, per year except for properly licensed charter boat captains and fishing guides.

Transport or shipment of tarpon becomes limited to one fish per person.

There will be a one-fish-per-vessel limit for tarpon.Gear used for tarpon will be limited to hook-and-line only. Multiple hooks in conjunction with live or dead natural bait cannot be used to target or harvest tarpon, or to target bonefish.

People will be allowed to temporarily possess a tarpon for photography, measurement of length and girth and scientific sampling, with the stipulation that tarpon more than 40 inches must remain in the water.

No doubt Aussie sportfishers would love to see our governments have similar enlightened views on fisheries management…   

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