TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Tarpon and bonefish will become catch-and-release only beginning Sept. 1.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved these management measures at its June meeting. Officials say the catch-and-release proposal was adopted because the economic and fishing values of bonefish and tarpon greatly exceed their value as food.
As of Sept. 1 in state and federal waters off Florida, possession of a single tarpon will be allowed only when in pursuit of an International Game Fish Association record. Tarpon 40 inches or more must stay in the water at all times. FWC staff determined that larger fish are harmed if withdrawn from the supporting waters.
Officials have also eliminated the bonefish tournament exemption, which allowed tournament anglers to transport bonefish to a tournament scale.