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Snook and redfish ‘catch-and-release’ policy goes into effect

Florida Fish and Wildlife are forced to take drastic measures to protect our ecosystem now that red tide has killed so many fish.

FWC will now bar you from taking any snook or redfish home just days before snook season opens.

Local captains say they were hoping FWC would change the rules for snook and redfish because how many red tide has killed this year.

“Probably the most sought after fish in Florida is the snook — it’s a big game fish,” said Captain Jon Black.

The snook season opener is slated for Saturday and Black says he’s not seeing the same numbers he used to.

“There’s been some days when I’ve caught 70-80 snook. Now I’m going to be good if I catch 15 snook,” Black said.

So now when he catches one, he tosses it back in the water.

“Enjoy the sport, then put it back for future generations because we depend on that and in three years you’ll be thanking yourself when you catch a whole bunch of snook again,” he said.

Hoping to rebuild the population, FWC announced it’s catch-and-release only for snook and redfish in areas affected by red tide. That means from Anna Maria Island in Manateee County all the way down to Gordon Pass in Collier County.

Marine Scientist and Captain Planet Project Founder, Garrett Stuart, says it’s a step in the right direction.

“We’re losing generations of fish, not just snook, but all types of fish,” Stuart said. “We have to take extreme preservation and conservation efforts.”

Officials say the rules are in place at least until the next Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioner meeting on September 28.

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