BTT Proposes Single Tag for Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon

Taking what I think is a very common sense approach to the notion of taking “trophy” fish, and extending the protections already given tarpon to permit and bonefish, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has just sent a letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requesting that they modify regulations on these species. As the letter says:
“Our recommendation is that the species listed above be listed as ‘Catch and Release only’. This would prohibit commercial harvest, and would limit recreational harvest to those possessing a ‘kill’ (aka ‘trophy’) tag. Our proposed definition of a ‘trophy/kill’ tag is: A tag purchased by anglers wishing to or in hopes of breaking existing world or state weight records. The current tarpon tag program could be redesigned and all three species could be included under a single tag. A trophy/kill tag would be needed for an angler to be in possession of a dead bonefish, tarpon, or permit.”
Read the full text of the letter in the extended entry.


January 1, 2009
Commissioner Rodney Barreto, Chairman
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 S. Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600
Dear Mr. Barreto:
The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (formerly known as Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited), with the support of recreational fishing guides and anglers, proposes that Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission implement new regulations for Bonefish, Tarpon & Permit. We propose that these species are made ‘Catch and Release only’.
The recreational fisheries for these species generate a significant portion of Florida’s $6 billion annual recreational fishing economy, and provide jobs for thousands. For example, it is estimated that a bonefish generates $75,000 over its lifetime. The need for further protection of the species listed as well as habitat protection has never been greater. The regulations being proposed will further protect the fishery, Florida’s rich angling heritage, and the economic revenue the fisheries generate. Florida lays claim to being the Fishing Capital of the World, and the regulations we request for bonefish, tarpon, and permit are essential to keeping the fisheries and economies healthy for the future.
Our recommendation is that the species listed above be listed as ‘Catch and Release only’. This would prohibit commercial harvest, and would limit recreational harvest to those possessing a ‘kill’ (aka ‘trophy’) tag. Our proposed definition of a “trophy/kill” tag is: A tag purchased by anglers wishing to or in hopes of breaking existing world or state weight records. The current tarpon tag program could be redesigned and all three species could be included under a single tag. A trophy/kill tag would be needed for an angler to be in possession of a dead bonefish, tarpon, or permit. A bonefish, tarpon, or permit could be harvested only if an angler has a tag. FWC would establish the fee structure and reporting procedures for the new tag.
These proposed regulations are not unprecedented, and would help position Florida more competitively in recreational fisheries tourism. The country of Belize recently established new regulations for bonefish, tarpon, and permit – these species are now ‘Catch and Release only’ in Belize. The adoption of this type of requirement by the state of Florida could encourage other Gulf states to adopt similar regulations in hopes of protecting their own recreational fisheries as well as protecting tarpon which are now known to circulate the Gulf of Mexico. Granting Catch and Release only status to bonefish, tarpon, and permit will help ensure these economically important fisheries continue into the future.
Sincerely,
Tom Davidson, Chairman
Cc: Ken Haddad, Mark Robson, Representative Baxter Troutman, Luiz Barbieri
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
24 Dockside Lane, PMB 83, Key Largo, FL 33037, 305-367-4571

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  • I think anglers should grow up a bit and that IGFA should devise a plan for the capture and release of potential world and state records so that these fish do not need to be killed at all. If they can authenticate Bogas then there should be some form of boat scale that can have the same affects and allow for on water weighing so the fish can be release to see another day.