FWC proposes changes to ballyhoo fishery rules

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Thursday proposed rule amendments regarding license requirements for commercial ballyhoo fishermen.

These fishermen harvest ballyhoo with lampara nets and sell this fish to recreational anglers for use as fishing bait.

Under current FWC rules, a small number of commercial fishermen have qualified for an endorsement on their saltwater products license that allows them to use a lampara net to harvest ballyhoo.

The FWC is proposing to give lampara net endorsement holders the option to sell their endorsement to someone else if they decide to leave the fishery.

The proposed rule amendments would:

Allow all ballyhoo endorsement holders to sell their endorsement to other commercial fishermen from July 1 - March 31 each year;

Limit any one entity from holding more than two ballyhoo endorsements at any one time;

Prohibit leasing of the endorsement; and

Allow only one endorsement per saltwater products license and one saltwater products license to be associated with a single endorsement.

A final public hearing on these rule-amendment proposals will take place during the FWC’s April meeting in the Tallahassee area.