Red tide changing fishing rules for north Manatee waters

Red tide causes new restriction for snook along Suncoast waters
Red tide causes new restriction for snook along Suncoast waters
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 1:22 PM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The red tide outbreak along the Suncoast is prompting new rules for fishermen north of State Road 64 for the rest of the summer, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Friday.

The FWC has temporarily made snook, redfish and spotted seatrout catch-and-release only in Tampa Bay beginning July 16, and continuing through Sept. 16. This applies to the following areas:

  • All Florida waters of Manatee County north of State Road 64, including all waters of the Braden River, and all tributaries of the Manatee River, excluding all waters of Palma Sola Bay.
  • All Florida waters of Hillsborough County.
  • All Florida waters of Pinellas County, excluding all waters of the Anclote River and its tributaries.

Regulations south of State Road 64 through Sarasota County to Gordon Pass in Collier County, remain unchanged.

“While it’s unfortunate that we must do this so close to the recent reopening of these species to harvest in this area, we know temporary catch-and-release measures such as these are successful in keeping fisheries sustainable throughout red tide events such as this one,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “We will continue working with our partners, stakeholders and local communities to evaluate this situation.”

“We’ve seen the devastation to the redfish, trout and snook populations in Tampa Bay, and we support the catch-and-release initiative taken by FWC,” stated Brian Gorski, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association Florida. “In working with FWC on this initiative, we’ve heard support from members and guides throughout the region who also understand the need for such a change.”

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