Welcome to 2023 Florida Saltwater Fishing
Message from the FWC by Chairman Rodney Barreto
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is committed to balancing the needs of Florida’s fish and wildlife with the needs of our nearly 22 million Florida residents and the millions of visitors we host each year. In Florida’s saltwater ecosystems, the FWC protects and manages more than 500 native species of saltwater fish and invertebrates, and we accomplish this through sound research from our Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and scientists within our agency as well as engagement and partnership with all of our stakeholders, including the millions of anglers who enjoy Florida’s marine resources.
FWC’s marine research biologists study the fish and invertebrates found in Florida’s waters from inshore species living along our coastline to deepwater species living 200 miles offshore and beyond. They gather critical data on these fisheries and their habitats which helps FWC fisheries managers to develop management strategies to balance keeping Florida’s fish populations healthy and providing ample fishing opportunities. Recently, FWC fisheries managers adopted a holistic, regional management approach to redfish where annual reviews of several environmental and human factors, such as habitat, fishing effort and stakeholder feedback inform management of the fishery on a very local scale. We are currently considering a similar approach for snook.
FWC researchers and managers also partner with recreational anglers to effectively manage Florida’s fisheries. In Florida, anglers and divers fishing for certain reef fish species from a private boat are required to possess the State Reef Fish Angler designation. This no-cost designation makes an individual eligible to receive the State Reef Fish survey, a specialized recreational fishing survey that provides timely and precise data needed to manage and assess important reef fish stocks throughout Florida. As an example, thanks to this great partnership with our anglers, we have been managing private recreational harvest of red snapper in Gulf federal waters since 2020. This has led to FWC being able to provide the longest, sustainable seasons possible.
If you are interested in the future of Florida’s saltwater fisheries, please consider getting involved by sharing your thoughts at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.