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Pompano plan cuts bag limits

By next winter's season, chances are your daily bag limit for pompano will be cut in half, from 10 to five fish.

The bag limit reduction for recreational anglers is part of a proposed package by the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to curtail over-fishing for the popular ocean fish, which is highly valued as table fare.

Lee Schlesinger, a spokesman for the FWC, said a recent stock assessment concluded that pompano is over fished on both coasts of Florida, despite the 1995 net ban.

"Prior to 1995, commercial harvests accounted for approximately 70 percent of pompano landings," Schlesinger said. "Today, recreational fishermen catch more than 60 percent of pompano in Florida."

In east central Florida, pompano are taken year round along the surf and in the Indian River Lagoon, but their numbers increase substantially during the winter months when the pompano becomes a primary target of surf fishermen. In addition to the increase in recreational catches, commercial landings and fishing mortality has risen to a point even higher than prior to the net ban, the study shows. Since the net ban there has been a large increase in reported commercial landings from federal waters, which is three miles offshore on the Atlantic coast, and nine miles offshore on the Gulf coast.

State scientists want to reduce harvests by about 10 percent, and that can be achieved by lowering the bag limit to five fish daily. Under the pompano rule, permit are included, and the five-fish limit would be an aggregate limit. Few permit are caught in this part of the state, however.

The FWC also wants to reduce the commercial trip limit in state waters from 250 pompano to 175 fish, and apply this limit to federal waters as well. This would result in a 7 percent reduction in the annual commercial harvest.

Gill net fishermen with a pompano endorsement fishing in federal waters between Cape Sable and Hurricane Pass off the coast of southwest Florida would not be affected by the trip limit reduction under the proposal.

The current minimum size limit for pompano is 10 inches fork length, and the maximum size limit is 20 inches. Recreational anglers may keep one pompano exceeding the 20-inch maximum. The sale of pompano less than 10 inches, or greater than 20 inches, is prohibited.

A final public hearing on the proposed pompano rule will be scheduled during the FWC's May 28 to 30 meeting at Kissimmee.

The FWC also is proposing a rule to manage and protect silver mullet, especially on the Atlantic coast where the fishing pressure is highest.

Unlike the black, or striped mullet, currently the harvesting of silver mullet is unregulated, although certain net specifications and fishing area restrictions apply.

The black mullet for recreational fishermen is managed by a 50-fish-a-person daily bag limit, with a 100 fish maximum a vessel from Feb. 1 through Aug. 31. From Sept. 1 through Jan. 31, the 50-fish limit also applies to each vessel.

"What we're trying to do is take the silver mullet and roll it into the black mullet regulations, and make it all the same," Schlesinger said.

The silver mullet also would be designated as a restricted species, and it would be closed to commercial harvesting during weekends from July 1 through Jan. 31, statewide.

The same recreational bag limits as the black mullet would apply to the silver mullet.

Schlesinger said the only difference in the rules would be a commercial harvest closure of silver mullet on the Atlantic coast during February each year.

"This closure, combined with the commercial weekend closure, could reduce commercial harvest by as much as 17 percent," Schlesinger added.

The silver, or white mullet, is difficult to distinguish from the black mullet, especially when they are similar in size. Usually, the silver mullet is lighter in color and with less vivid stripes. The edge of the tail of the silver mullet is edged in black, appearing as a black "V," while the tail of the black mullet is dark overall.

A final public hearing on the mullet rule also will be scheduled at the FWC's May 28 to 30 Kissimmee meeting.

What's your take on this :) :D :mad: :confused: :eek:


210 Posts
I only eat fresh fish-catch/clean/eat, usually within a few hours of catching them they are in the pan.Would like to see a 2 fish limit, pretty much what a twosome would eat for dinner.Not sure how this would matter compared to the netting operations where many are killed in the process. I also throw ANY fish back that I lip hook, only keep eye/thru the skull catches that probably wont make it any way.

70 Posts
Guys- Here is my ‘take’ on this plan. I need more information…

What I want to know is how many Pompano the scientists think were taken in a given (recent) year. Let’s assume for my post that the number is 10,000,000 (ten million).

Then I can deal with the percentages (using the 10 million number) recreational guys take six million, commercials take four million. Quote- "Today, recreational fishermen catch more than 60 percent of pompano in Florida."

So the guys from the state want to cut annual pompano taking by one million. Quote- “State scientists want to reduce harvests by about 10 percent.”

Now assuming that I agree with the state and think these fish are over-fished (I have no reason to doubt it), I want to be sure that each side is taking 10% fewer fish.

In other words recreational guys have to take (10% of 6 million) 600,000 fewer fish, then the regs should be changed around so that the commercial fishermen have to take (10% of 4 million) 400,000 fewer fish as well.

It looks to me like they are going to cut the recreational trip limit in half and only reduce the commercial trip limit regs by 33 percent.

Quote- “The FWC also wants to reduce the commercial trip limit in state waters from 250 pompano to 175 fish, and apply this limit to federal waters as well. This would result in a 7 percent reduction in the annual commercial harvest.”

I just don’t agree with a 7% reduction in commercial fishing when we want a 10% overall reduction. It just shows that that other 3% unaccounted for in the commercial reduction will be laid on my head with a 50% reduction in my trip limit.

But I can’t get all that worked up, I will never take 10 pompano home anyway. I can’t eat 10 fish so forget it. Its like Spanish Mackerel, who the heck needs 15 of those things anyway? Just don’t tell me that you want to cut harvest by 10% and then impose regulations on commercials cutting them 7%. It leaves unanswered a major point: how much of the total reduction will recreational guys be bearing with the smaller bag limit? If its out of proportion with the part of the harvest for which netters account, then I disagree.
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