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Attention Seatrout Anglers

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Florida Saltwater Fishing

Spotted Seatrout Anglers: Possible Recreational Regulations Changes Coming in 2019

One of the most highly-targeted saltwater species in Florida, spotted seatrout is an important and iconic fishery to the state. The FWC manages seatrout in four unique zones across the state (Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast). Within each zone, seatrout populations are assessed using a measure of population health known as the Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR). Research indicates seatrout populations should be kept to at least 20% SPR in order to maintain a sustainable population, but the FWC manages spotted seatrout at a higher management goal of 35% SPR in order to provide a better fishery.

In 2017, staff held a series of workshops related to a draft spotted seatrout assessment to gather initial feedback. A final stock assessment was released in 2018 and suggests that the Southwest and Southeast zones are exceeding the FWC’s 35% SPR management goal, while the Northeast and Northwest zones are not meeting this goal.

Following the release of the final 2018 assessment results, FWC conducted an online survey to gather information on recreational angler satisfaction and management desires for the recreational fishery. Based on the results of the assessment and public feedback received, staff is currently working on a proposal that will come before the Commission in early 2019. If the Commission moves forward with changes to the management of this fishery, changes will likely go in place sometime in 2019. If you are interested in this topic, please visit our website at MyFWC.com, and click on ‘Commission Meetings’ at the bottom of the page for updated Commission meeting agendas as they are posted. Additionally, you can stay up to date on Commission meeting agendas by reading or email-subscribing to our monthly newsletter, “Fishing in the Know” by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater” and then “Latest News.” For more information on spotted seatrout and current regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Spotted Seatrout.”