Regulations and Enforcement

Regulating Catch and Stopping Violations is one way to Conserve the Resource

 Mullet in NE Florida netted for roe. While the netting of mullet is not illegal, certain net gear has been. As of today, Florida is NOT enforcing net gear limitations. As many of you may have heard, Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ordered to stop enforcement of Florida’s constitutional amendment limiting the use of nets.

While challenges to the “net ban” have surfaced in the past (the original amendment dates back to 1994), they are usually appealed without much fanfare.

In this case, it appears to be a bit different. While a notice of appeal was filed within hours -– essentially stalling Judge Fulford's ruling –- late last week her ruling went into affect until the 1st District Court of Appeals grants an emergency hearing. On Nov 1, a memo was sent to FWC law officers notifying them they must respect Judge Fulford's ruling, to refrain from enforcing gill net laws, until otherwise notified.

As a result, Florida's inshore waters faced unregulated netting for six days, until finally the decision was made to allow enforcement until the case is heard.

Reports of large net hauls in the Jacksonville area and along the pan handle spread around the state, as well as news that nets flew off the shelf all over Florida.

Aside from the typical valid arguments against entangling nets, I feel doubly duped - here's part of the reason why.

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Triggerfish, Blackdrum, Grouper, and Snapper Violations

click here to view FWC Regulations

BAY COUNTY
Officers Mike Nobles and Steve Wicker were on patrol in St. Andrews Bay when they conducted a fisheries inspection on a commercial fishing vessel. During the inspection, Officer Nobles located two plastic trash bags containing fish fillets. One bag contained triggerfish fillets and the other contained grouper fillets. A total of 21 triggerfish fillets and eight gag grouper fillets were in the two bags. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for possession of reef fish not maintained or landed in whole condition.

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Trout

LEE COUNTY

Officer Art Morrow was conducting vessel safety checks at the Matlacha Community Park
Boat Ramp when a vessel with fishing poles and tackle approached the dock. Officer
Morrow made contact with the operator and a fisheries inspection was conducted. Eight
spotted seatrout were found in a live well. The subject was cited for possession of four fish
over the legal bag limit. Investigator Larry Jernstedt and Officer Greg Stanley assisted.

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Snook & Redfish

LEE COUNTY

While patrolling Fort Myers Beach, Officer Demian McColgin observed a subject fishing
with a cast net underneath a bridge. As the fisherman prepared to leave, Officer McColgin
conducted a marine fisheries inspection and found the individual in possession of snook and
several undersized sheepshead. The subject was cited for the violations.

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Redfish

BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Cody Loeffler conducted a fisheries inspection on five subjects in a vehicle
preparing to leave Merritt Island Refuge. In plain view Officer Loeffler could see several
redfish. After all subjects claimed their catch, Officer Loeffler issued one subject
a notice to appear for possession of over the daily bag limit and oversized redfish.
Another subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of over the daily bag limit
and undersized redfish. A third subject was issued a notice to appear for over the daily
bag limit of redfish.

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Snook

CHARLOTTE COUNTY

A sheriff’s deputy contacted Lieutenant Mike Frantz concerning someone bow fishing in
the lakes of Rotonda Trace. Lieutenant Frantz arrived to find the fisherman had a 22-inch
snook in his bucket. The snook was bleeding from a hole just behind its head, and the
fisherman admitted to taking the snook by an illegal method. The snook was too small and
the season was closed to harvest. The fisherman received three citations.

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Snook

BROWARD COUNTY

RPS Officer Eric Alford was watching a subject in a remote location along the south fork
of the New River when the lone angler caught a large snook. The angler, whose tail gate
was open on his SUV, ran to his vehicle throwing the fish, rod and reel in the back, jumped
in and sped away. The fish was never taken off the hook as the angler tried to make a fast
get-away. Officer Alford, who watched the whole incident, was in disbelief and followed the
suspected violator. After the vehicle was stopped, a measurement of the snook revealed it
was four inches over the legal size limit. The subject was cited and the snook was returned
alive to the water.

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Redfish

PENSACOLA AREA RPS

RPS Lieutenant Dan Hahr and RPS Officer Alan Kirchinger were on patrol in Mulat Bayou
near Archie Glover Boat Ramp when they observed a vessel occupied by three juveniles
and a young woman. The subjects were fishing, but also passing around a bottle of Jim
Beam whiskey. The officers met the subjects at the boat ramp where they observed that
the operator was displaying signs of impairment. Officer Kirchinger conducted field sobriety
tasks and arrested the juvenile operator for boating under the influence. He was also cited
for possession of an undersized redfish and for possession of alcoholic beverages by a
person under the age of 21. The two other subjects were issued notices to appear for
possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under the age of 21.

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Snook

BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Matt Cushing was conducting boating safety and resources inspections when
he stopped a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Exchange Park. After conducting
a boating safety inspection, several violations were noted. Officer Cushing asked the
occupants if they had caught any fish. One subject admitted to catching some jacks.
The officer asked to see the jacks and one subject opened the cooler. Officer Cushing
noticed some jacks, mangrove snapper and the tail end of a snook. The snook was
undersized and the subject admitted to keeping it because it was the first one he ever
caught. He was cited and the snook was seized as evidence.

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Trout

ESCAMBIA COUNTY COPS

Lieutenant Keith Clark attended a meeting of the Pensacola Recreational Fisherman’s
Association and spoke on the recent recreational rules changes regulating gag grouper,
red grouper, red drum, and spotted seatrout. Lieutenant Clark provided fishing regulations,
Boat Smart booklets, and fish identification pamphlets to the group.

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Redfish

BAY COUNTY

Officer Jim Moore worked with Department of Environmental Protection Park Patrol Officers
at the St. Andrews State Park jetties targeting redfish violations. Several size and bag limit
cases were made this week on subjects who were hiding oversized redfish in the rocks.

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Snook

BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Joshua Varnadoe was on night patrol in the vicinity of a spillway structure in Ft.
Lauderdale when he observed an individual fishing inside a no trespassing area. He
conducted surveillance on the subject and then made contact. The subject was found in
possession of three undersized snook. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation
for possession of over the bag limit of snook and a citation for no fishing license. All three
undersized snook were released alive into the water.

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Snook

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Doricchi and Fowler were dispatched to a report of a subject in possession of
undersized snook. A 20-year-old Georgia resident was found to be in possession of a
22" snook and did not have a valid fishing license. After much discussion the officers
decided, based on the circumstances, it would be much more beneficial to educate the
young man about the situation and issue a warning for the undersized snook and an
infraction for not having a fishing license rather than arrest him for the violation.

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Trout

BAY COUNTY

During surveillance in Warren Bayou, Officer Neal Goss observed three individuals fishing
from a vessel. One fisherman caught a fish and yelled over to Officer Goss and asked
him what type of fish it was.

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Redfish

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Scott Smith was on land patrol near a popular fishing spot when he observed a
local resident fishing from his dock. He watched the subject for several minutes and then
approached the individual and noticed he had three redfish lying on his dock. The individual
stated that he had not caught any other fish, but Officer Smith located two more redfish that
had been placed in a crab trap tied to the dock. The subject was issued the appropriate
citation. Officer Paul VanOst had issued a citation to the same subject several months ago
for similar violations.

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Snook

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Reno Doricchi was conducting fisheries inspections in Stuart when he observed
a man fishing from the old Roosevelt Bridge. He approached and asked permission to
inspect the fisherman’s cooler. The cooler contained a few grunts and a sheepshead on top
of packed ice. A 19-3/4" snook was buried in the ice under the grunts and sheepshead. The
subject was cited for possession of snook out of season.

Snook

DADE COUNTY

Lieutenant Albert Maza issued numerous misdemeanor citations to a subject for possession
of out of season and five undersized red grouper and two gag grouper. The fisheries
inspection occurred at a local marina as the vessel returned to port. During a second vessel
stop at the same location, he issued additional citations to a second subject for possession
of one out of season snook, which was oversized and speared.

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Trout

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Tim Shearer stopped to check some fisherman at a local boat ramp as they loaded
gear into their vehicles. The subjects denied catching any fish, but an inspection revealed a
ten inch spotted sea trout in the bottom of a cooler. The subject in possession of the cooler
was cited for possession of undersized spotted sea trout.

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Snook

GLADES COUNTY

RPS Officer Mike Lilley and Officer Andy Taylor received a call regarding snook violations
at the Ortona Locks. The officers arrived and began to fish from the pier and observe. The
officers recognized one of the fishermen packing up his gear as one of the area’s avid
snook fishermen. Officer Lilley spoke to one of the other fishermen who bragged about
the fish they had caught. The fisherman stated, “If you can keep a secret, that guy leaving
has a snook in his truck." The officers made contact with the subject and found him in
possession of a 37-inch snook in his tool box. The subject was cited for possession of
oversized snook and possession of snook during the closed season.

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Trout

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bryan Beeler was conducting fisheries inspections in the area of Structure C of
the Pinellas Bayway when he encountered a fisherman in possession of four undersized
spotted seatrout. The appropriate citations were issued and the fish were seized.

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