SARASOTA (WWSB) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is rolling out the extension of the amended fishing rules as May begins.
Algae Bloom was responsible for the deaths of thousands of fish in southwest Florida. Now, FWC has made a crucial decision to implement a catch and release rule.
As of May 11, Red Drum, Snook and Trout fish will remain catch-and-release until the end of May 2020.
Local fishing captain Johnny Walker says catch-and-release in necessary especially for one species in particular.
“We know that the bay is in trouble...trout are especially in trouble," Walker said. "There are a few snook and red fish left in the bay, but the trout almost got entirely wiped out.”
Walker and the FWC hopes the catch-and-release policy will help the recovery of these fish. “I think the fish will get at least one spawning season, maybe 2 spawning seasons before being able to be caught,” Walker said. “Trout can spawn 2 or 3 times a year.”
Charter Captain Doug Recharde also agrees with these statements. “They were hit really bad but something about mother nature that has the ability to really replenish and through these waters, there is so much circulation through the Gulf of Mexico," Recharde said.
This is a decision that both captains say will help tourism and the legacy of fishing.
“Its a good thing to let them go," Recharde said. "There’s plenty of fish around that we can catch, and if it’s the importance of eating, we have all the migratory fish around...Spanish mackeral, pompano and those kind of things.”
“Once people stop and think about whats going to happen if we don’t do this, it could be really bad,” Walker said.
The FWC also has confirmed that Florida is free of red tide blooms.