• Enhancing protection for some of Florida’s most popular recreational fish species is on the agenda of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Orlando. Commissioners are expected to vote on a final rule establishing game fish and sport fish designations for species to be determined later. A game fish would mean no commercial and limited recreational harvest. FWC staffers have listed snook, sea trout and redfish as possible candidates. A sport fish would be catch-and-release only. Possible nominees: bonefish, tarpon, permit and billfish. If approved, the new designations would take effect April 1, but categorizing species could take longer.
In other action, commissioners are expected to consider establishing a gag grouper season in Gulf state waters that would open July 1 and close when the federal season closes. That rule would not apply in the Keys, which follows South Atlantic grouper closures, nor in state waters of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, where the gag season runs April 1 through June 30.
• The Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic fisheries management councils will hold a webinar from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb.25 to discuss fisheries issues in South Florida. Topics include: yellowtail and mutton snapper management in the Keys; allocations of fish landings in the Keys; and a special management unit across South Florida with consistent state and federal regulations. To attend the webinar, go to www2.gotomeeting.com/register/323435202.