Gulf red snapper season opens Oct. 1



The recreational harvest of red snapper opened Oct. 1 in state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.



In state waters, which are from shore to nine nautical miles in the Gulf, the season will remain open through Oct. 21, closing on Oct. 22.



In federal waters, which are from 9 nautical miles out to 200 nautical miles, the season will remain open through Oct. 14, closing on Oct. 15.



These supplemental recreational red snapper seasons are for 2013 only. The minimum size limit in state and federal waters is 16 inches, and the daily bag limit is two per harvester, per day. There is a zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.



Anglers are required to use circle hooks and dehooking devices when fishing for any reef species, including red snapper, in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters. The requirement to use venting tools in federal waters was removed on Sept. 3. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider adopting similar changes at a future meeting. The intent of these rules is to help conserve fishery resources by increasing the chances for a fish to survive after being caught and released.



Learn more about red snapper by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater” and “Recreational Regulations.”



 



ANERR announces Panhandle habitat classes



The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve is happy to announce the next classes in the Panhandle Habitat Series.



The Estuaries class is Wednesday, Oct. 30 and the Rivers & Floodplains class is Wednesday, Nov. 13.



These professional level classes are intended for coastal decision makers such as consultants, ecologists, park rangers, planners, permitting staff, ecotour operators, elected officials, developers, volunteer organizations and concerned citizens.



All classes will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center in Eastpoint.



Registration is required. You must register at http://apalachicolanerrcoastaltraining.eventbrite.com no later than five days before the class.



Cost is $10 per person per class payable to Friends of the Reserve. Mail payment with your name to Margo Posten, 108 Island Drive, Eastpoint, FL 32328. For more information contact Posten at 670-7719 or Margaret.posten@dep.state.fl.us



 



FWC seeks input on anchoring and mooring program



The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking feedback from cruising boaters, local boaters and other residents in evaluating the state’s anchoring and mooring pilot program and related ordinances.



The FWC has posted a brief online survey to accept this feedback. It should take approximately five to 10 minutes to complete and will be available to the public now through Oct. 7. Any input is greatly appreciated in evaluating and improving boating in Florida.



The Florida Legislature established the anchoring and mooring pilot program in 2009. The intent was to explore potential options for regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields throughout the state.



After public input, the FWC selected the cities of St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Stuart (in conjunction with Martin County) and the cities of Key West and Marathon (in conjunction with Monroe County) as five sites for the pilot program. They were granted temporary authority to regulate mooring in their jurisdictional waters through local ordinances.



All ordinances enacted under authority of the pilot program will expire on July 1, 2014, and will be inoperative and unenforceable thereafter, unless re-enacted by the Legislature.



Participation in the survey will help determine the effectiveness of the program and developed ordinances. To access the survey and for more information, go to MyFWC.com/Boating.



 



Stone crab season opens Oct. 15



The recreational and commercial stone crab season will open Oct. 15 in state and federal waters. Only the claws may be harvested and must be at least 2 ¾ inches long. The bag limit is one gallon of claws per person or two gallons per vessel, whichever is less. Harvest of claws from females with eggs is prohibited



The season closes May 16. Harvesters cannot use any device that can puncture, crush or injure the crab body. A maximum of five traps per person is permitted.