Florida Snook Re-Opening Worries Many

A two-year Florida ban on harvesting snook is set to be lifted on August 31, 2012 and many are worried that doing so will have a detrimental effect on Florida’s snook recovery.  Numerous boat captains, wildlife lovers, and concerned Floridians created an online petition to fight the ban.  Opponents of lifting the ban are worried that the population has not recovered from the 2010 freeze.

“We lost the whole middle size of fish — the 22- to 28-inchers. They used to be a dime a dozen,” says Randall Marsh, a fishing guide in Florida.  There are those in favor of lifting the ban—including, surprisingly, the editor of Florida Sportsman magazine, Karl Wickstrom, who feels that a bag limit will be inconsequential to a stock that is doing “extremely well.”

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  • Norm Zeigler

    Here is the opinion of the Sanibel Fly Fishers

    To: Mr. Nick Wiley, Executive Director

    Florida Fish
    and Wildlife Conservation Commission

    620
    South Meridian Street
    Tallahassee, FL
    32399-1600

     

    From: Sanibel Fly Fishers

    April 13, 2012

     

    Dear Mr. Wiley,

     

    As longtime and avid
    snook anglers in one of Florida’s top snook fishing regions, we would like to
    provide our input on the decision whether to open a killing season for snook. We strongly recommend that the agency
    continue the current west coast moratorium for at least one more year (until
    September 2013). The devastation to the snook population caused by the extreme
    cold in the winter of 2009-2010 certainly has not been repaired (and will not
    this season either) and these treasured game fish need ongoing protection from
    “harvest” to recover, just as redfish did some years ago.

     

    We believe that your
    population research, and that of other agencies – i.e. Mote Marine – reflects
    our extensive informal observations on the reduced snook numbers along
    Florida’s west coast.

     

    FWC has done an
    excellent job managing the recreational snook fishery over the last 17 years
    and we trust that good science and common sense will prevail over the
    “catch and fillet” crowd. Most of us have occasionally killed and
    eaten snook — one of Florida’s (and the world’s) tastiest species — and we are not rabid protectionists.
    But a continuation of snook’s protected status under catch-and-release
    regulations would go a long way toward restoring the population of these highly
    prized game fish. Snook, of course, also provide a multi-million-dollar
    component to Florida’s tourism economy and status as the world’s top
    recreational fishing destination.

     

    FYI: Our current
    membership is around 100 and approximately 200 people around the world receive
    our monthly newsletter. 

     

    Sincerely,

    Executive Board

    Sanibel Fly Fishers

    Dave DeWalt, President

    Drew Chicone, Vice
    President

    Joel Aronoff, Treasurer

    Joe Mahler, Past President

    Jim Baldwin, Member
    Emeritus

    Norm Zeigler,
    Conservation Officer and Past President

    Chris Coile,
    Conservation Officer

    Bill Higgins, Past
    President

     

    Contact Info: Norm
    Zeigler, 2242 Periwinkle Way, Unit 1, Sanibel Island, FL 33957, normwrite@aol.com, 239-472-6868

     

  • Jmerenda

    Norm, that email is spot on. I live in Tampa Bay, while the fishing is way better this year for snook. I went a whole year without seeing more than 20 snook. I used to be able to catch 5-10 in a couple hours in the evening during the summer. Sadly, that is not the case any longer.