Fla. Considers Tough Snapper Catch Limits for Charter Boats

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Florida regulators have reached a compromise intended to save the overfished red snapper with an eye to the economic fears of Panhandle fishermen.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioners approved (yesterday) an amended plan to cut the daily red snapper catch limit for charter boats. But they also rejected shortening the state's snapper fishing season.

A more strict plan would have placed tougher red snapper guidelines for federal waters on Florida's waters, which extend nine miles from the coast.

Charter captains, Panhandle politicians and business owners told the commission a truncated season along with decreased daily catch limits would be devastating to the local economy.

The approved plan keeps the season open from April 15th through October 31st. It also allows commercial fishermen to catch up to 2.55 million pounds of snapper, while recreational anglers are limited to 2.45 million pounds per year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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