Outdoors Notebook

Red rules under review



NOAA Fisheries hasn’t decided yet whether to open another red snapper mini-season this summer in the South Atlantic like it did last year.

But the agency is accepting public comment through May 29 on Amendment 28, which establishes a process for determining whether there will be one. NOAA proposes to develop an equation to determine the annual catch limit for both the commercial and recreational sectors if fishing is allowed. But first it plans to establish whether last summer’s mini-season resulted in too many landings and dead discards.

If calculations show the acceptable biological catch was not exceeded, then both a recreational and commercial harvest season would be allowed. If there is to be a recreational season, it would open July 12 and be Friday-Saturday-Sunday only until the closing date — which would be announced prior to the opening. Anglers would be allowed to take one fish per person per day, with no minimum size.

The commercial season would open July 8 and end when the annual catch limit is met. A commercial trip limit of 75 pounds (gutted weight) would be set, with no minimum size. To comment on the proposed rule, go to regulations.gov.

•  NOAA Fisheries has extended provisions of a temporary rule for 186 days to head off a sudden closure of the commercial yellowtail snapper harvest in the South Atlantic. Effective Monday, the annual catch limit will rise from about 1.1 million pounds to nearly 1.6 million pounds. The agency said a recent stock assessment shows yellowtail are in good shape and there is no peril of overfishing. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has submitted a rule amendment which would make the increased catch limit permanent for NOAA to review.

•  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it has more than 5,000 permits available for the annual public alligator hunt that runs from Aug. 15 through Nov. 1. Hunters may apply online or at any tax collector’s office and some sporting goods stores. An alligator trapping license and two hide validation tags total $272 for Florida residents.

•  Four well-known Islamorada charterboat captains based at Bud n’ Mary’s Fishing Marina are the stars of a new reality show debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the Weather Channel. Reel Rivals features captain Nick Stanczyk, his uncle, captain Scott Stanczyk, and captains George McElveen and Augie Wampler all trying to out-fish one another.

Read more Outdoors stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Good to go:</span> Ryan Bancroft of Weston measures one of the lobsters he caught in the waters of Biscayne Bay near Fishermen’s Channel in July 2013.

    Lobster fishing | Annual two-day miniseason (Wed.-Thu.)

    Claw and order expected for Florida’s annual two-day lobster miniseason

    Florida’s largest undeclared state holiday — the annual two-day lobster miniseason — arrives Wednesday and Thursday. Thousands of hopeful scuba divers, snorkelers and bully netters will crowd the state’s waterways, vying for neighborhood barbecue supremacy.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Saving the day:</span> John Long releases a tarpon caught on fly rod by Sue Cocking off the Marquesas Keys.

    In My Opinion

    Tarpon make for nice backup plan

    Captain John Long and I zipped west in his skiff from Key West to the Marquesas Keys on Wednesday, filled with anticipation of permit. A few days earlier, anglers competing in the three-day Del Brown Invitational Permit Tournament had released 15 on fly and the winner, Nathaniel Linville, had five releases. That might not sound like much to a non-fly angler, but it’s huge. And on the previous day, Long and a friend had no less than 40 shots at permit on the flats west of Key West. They hooked two and lost them.

Shane Hutto of Orlando holds up a large red snapper he caught off Port Canaveral with Cop Out Charters.

    Final red snapper of the season ready to be snapped up

    Only one weekend remains open in this summer’s eight-day red snapper recreational mini-season in federal South Atlantic waters. Anglers have from one minute after midnight Friday until midnight Saturday to bring home one fish per person of any size. After that, the season will be closed indefinitely.

Miami Herald

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