On Sunday, Sept. 1, tarpon and bonefish became exclusively catch and release in the state of Florida, after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved these new measures at its June 12 meeting in Lakeland.
The following changes will go into effect Sept. 1 in state and federal waters off Florida:
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.
Tarpon regulations will extend into federal waters.
The bonefish tournament exemption permit is eliminated. This exemption allowed tournament anglers with the proper permit to temporarily possess bonefish for transport to a tournament scale.
To learn more about tarpon and bonefish, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater” and “Recreational Regulations.”
Information provided by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.
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