At its Nov. 18 meeting in Panama City Beach, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved changes to the gray triggerfish size and bag limits in Atlantic state waters.
The approvals include:
- In Atlantic state waters: Changing the recreational and commercial minimum size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length and creating a 10-fish recreational bag limit
- Statewide: Changing the sale and import size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length
These changes will go into effect on Saturday, Nov. 21.
The changes were approved after stakeholders in southeast Florida expressed concerns that a 14-inch minimum size limit for gray triggerfish, which was implemented in July 2015, may not be appropriate for Atlantic state waters. The FWC approved the 14-inch size limit earlier this year as part of a federal consistency measure.
Stakeholders expressed that a smaller size limit is more appropriate because gray triggerfish are, on average, smaller in size in state waters off the Atlantic coast of south Florida than they are in other federally managed regions along the Atlantic. FWC realized public input from all areas affected by the size limit change was not received by federal fishery managers.
A stock assessment on Atlantic gray triggerfish is expected to be completed in 2016. Therefore, the new 12-inch size limit and 10-fish recreational bag limit will be in effect until Oct. 31, 2016. This will give fishery managers time to review assessment results and determine if other management measures are needed.