Muttons to 18" - limit 5 in Fed waters - Fed 10th

WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:
• Regulations will be effective on February 10, 2018.

WHAT THIS MEANS:

For commercial fishermen, the final rule:
• Revises the commercial catch limit.
• Increases the commercial minimum size limit from 16 to 18 inches total length.
• Establishes a commercial trip limit of 500 pounds whole weight during January through April and July through December.
• Establishes a commercial trip limit, during the April through June spawning season, of five mutton snapper per person per day, or five mutton snapper per person per trip, whichever is more restrictive. The purpose of the trip limit is to protect fish that are aggregating to reproduce.

For recreational fishermen, the final rule:
• Revises the recreational catch limit.
• Increases the recreational minimum size limit from 16 to 18 inches total length.
• Decreases the recreational bag limit within the ten-snapper aggregate bag limit to five mutton snapper per person per day.
• Revises the recreational catch target.
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Marathon, FL -- World Cat 320CC -- Fishing/Snorkeling/Sunset Cruise

. www.AOKCharters.com
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Replies

  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,053 AG
    No mention of charter boat limits?
  • Charter boats generally fall under the recreational regulations with the exceptions of the required licenses for operation. 18" mutton snapper has been state law since January 1. Unless you want to prove that you caught your less than 18" mutton in Fed waters, it's already been the law. Thank those guys(young guns) pounding the wrecks taking 20-30 mature fish off the deep wrecks a day for this change. They are heroes in their minds, but we gained another restriction for the abuse of knowledge of how to completely exploit a limited fishery. A 30" mutton isn't the same as a 14" yellowtail, so the restriction has been earned. Harvesting all the crop without planting new seeds makes a bad farmer. I may sound critical, but it's common sense if you have fished these waters for a couple of years. I've never had a charter customer that was disappointed with catching 2 or 3 giant muttons and plenty that didn't know the value of the difference between 2 or 5. 20 was never an option because those fish are the future of the fishery. Thank god we created a healthy yellowtail fishery by fishing for them! That is true farming. Irma took a bunch of wrecks away, so if you're having a super great day maybe dial it back a little and try a new spot instead of completely stripping a spot bare. Life attracts life and an empty wreck is the same as a dead reef. We keep earning our restrictions among many fisheries that are managed well after the fact. Remember hogfish? That regulation hurt and will continue to for a long time
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 492 Deckhand
    Sensible limits are the reason we have anything left to fish for. I remember the good old days, but that was then, and this is now. On another note all the govt. has to do is ban GPS and the fish population would explode. I never fish or dive a valued spot on the weekend.
  • mtbrider85mtbrider85 Posts: 316 Deckhand
    Charter boats generally fall under the recreational regulations with the exceptions of the required licenses for operation. 18" mutton snapper has been state law since January 1. Unless you want to prove that you caught your less than 18" mutton in Fed waters, it's already been the law. Thank those guys(young guns) pounding the wrecks taking 20-30 mature fish off the deep wrecks a day for this change. They are heroes in their minds, but we gained another restriction for the abuse of knowledge of how to completely exploit a limited fishery. A 30" mutton isn't the same as a 14" yellowtail, so the restriction has been earned. Harvesting all the crop without planting new seeds makes a bad farmer. I may sound critical, but it's common sense if you have fished these waters for a couple of years. I've never had a charter customer that was disappointed with catching 2 or 3 giant muttons and plenty that didn't know the value of the difference between 2 or 5. 20 was never an option because those fish are the future of the fishery. Thank god we created a healthy yellowtail fishery by fishing for them! That is true farming. Irma took a bunch of wrecks away, so if you're having a super great day maybe dial it back a little and try a new spot instead of completely stripping a spot bare. Life attracts life and an empty wreck is the same as a dead reef. We keep earning our restrictions among many fisheries that are managed well after the fact. Remember hogfish? That regulation hurt and will continue to for a long time

    Agreed! I saw Billy Delph say something along the same lines recently on social media. A limit of 2 muttons per person/ per day is plenty of meat to feed the family.

    I would say a majority of the locals stopped fishing the mutton spawn in recent years, but the out of town'ers just dont get it... but they come down wanting to fill a freezer and the local capts have a hard time saying "no" once the fish is on the deck.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 985 Officer
    OK, here's where I'm going to chime in. First, reducing the amount of muttons from 10 down to 5 per person doesn't affect the population. This fact was presented at the FWC's meetings that I attended. So few people catch more than a couple of muttons a day that it is not even worth talking about. In fact, you could increase the number of muttons to 10,000 per person per day and nothing would happen either. Think about it, when was the last time any of you caught 40 muttons in a day w 4 guys on the boat other than during the spawn? Now, the 18" deal, that's a different story. That number is huge. A mutton snapper hasn't even reproduced when it's 16", It doesn't until it is about 17". By increasing the size to 18", you've guaranteed that the fish has reproduced. That is a GOOD thing for all of us. Make no mistake about it, the people that argued about keeping the spawn open to fishermen were NOT the out of towners, it was the charter boats/guides in Key West. They whined that it would hurt their business and that they relied on that income. I call BS. If you're a guide and you need the spawn to bring customers to you, you need to find another occupation. Do other fishermen come in to Key West to take advantage of the spawn? Of course they do but don't even think the locals and commercial fishermen aren't out there taking advantage of it. Billy D. is entitled to his opinion as each of you are but the mutton snapper population isn't hurting. What's hurting the muttons the most IMO are the red snappers pushing them out of the area's that they use to frequent.. they're a plague that we're not allowed to deal with.
  • Paulieboy73Paulieboy73 Posts: 31 Greenhorn
    Floridakeysadventure...well said! I agree 100%
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 742 Officer
    Ok my turn. As someone who has caught muttons for over 32 here is my take. 18 inches is a great thing. 5 or 10 isn't going to make a **** bit of difference. I was told that on the federal level and state level.

    ARS and sharks are the issue. They have overrun the bottom where muttons live.

    Spawn? Don't even go there. Thank the charter boats and guides. The meeting in Key West was a disgrace. I had too bite my tongue till it bleed. I drank a quart of blood that night.

    You will see no positive effect with this new regulation unless sharks and ARS are dealt with. It is all window dressing.

    Greg
    YankeeCapts2013-1.jpg
  • AOKRVsAOKRVs Posts: 1,591 Captain
    Great point Capt Greg
    Did not mean to stir the pot - just posted as a PSA
    those that abuse and are not good stewards of our resources will continue
    to plunder no matter what the regs are.
    ARS is a big problem and hopefully they will realize this before they cut off muttons too.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Marathon, FL -- World Cat 320CC -- Fishing/Snorkeling/Sunset Cruise

    . www.AOKCharters.com
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 742 Officer
    AOKRVs wrote: »
    Great point Capt Greg
    Did not mean to stir the pot - just posted as a PSA
    those that abuse and are not good stewards of our resources will continue
    to plunder no matter what the regs are.
    ARS is a big problem and hopefully they will realize this before they cut off muttons too.

    As a member of both councils on the AP level we have a long way too go before we see any meaningful limits on ARS.

    If you want to see changes with fisheries management the MSA needs to be completely rewritten. MRIP too. Until then we will fight for scrapes as they fall off the table.

    Greg
    YankeeCapts2013-1.jpg
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 492 Deckhand
    Let's not forget that the Mutton population on the Atlantic side up the coast to the Carolinas has suffered greatly due to environmental issues which impact the entire food chain. I used to fish them up the coast (Ft Pierce - north) and we had a very viable fishery. Now look at all the issues with the catching (Kings, Mackerel, Vermies, etc.). If the feed goes away, so do the fish. It's a bigger problem then just a local one. Unfortunately our politicians seem to defer to others to solve their own problems (aka as our problems). The sooner we vote for those willing to take a responsible position the faster good things will happen. That's all I'm going to say about that!
  • Ron@.38 SpecialRon@.38 Special Posts: 6,706 Admiral
    Funny to see those who have a history of not following the rules to comment on this...Oh well.

    What is the best thing about these limits??? Decreasing the number of fish brought back from the Bahamas during the spawn.
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 742 Officer
    The Bahamas need to enforce their own rules. Their fish, their problem.
    YankeeCapts2013-1.jpg
  • NorthernNorthern Posts: 701 Officer
    Greg, I totally agree with what you have said about the impact of ARS and sharks. However, I'm very unfamiliar with the process to change these issues. Is there any chance that the shark issue could be handled at the same time that the ARS issue would be addressed? It would a shame if the regulators only fixed 1/2 of the problem. I'd appreciate any additional input that you will share. Especially on the shark side of the issue.
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 985 Officer
    Funny to see those who have a history of not following the rules to comment on this...Oh well.

    Ron, are you still butt hurt? What would make little Ronnie happy? I'm fresh out of safety pins.

    What is the best thing about these limits??? Decreasing the number of fish brought back from the Bahamas during the spawn.
    The amt of fish brought back from Bimini and Chub is so minute that it's not worth talking about.
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 742 Officer
    Northern wrote: »
    Is there any chance that the shark issue could be handled at the same time that the ARS issue would be addressed? It would a shame if the regulators only fixed 1/2 of the problem. I'd appreciate any additional input that you will share. Especially on the shark side of the issue.

    Since longlines were banned for sharks the population has exploded. I have lost so many spots because of this. You hook a mutton and then it gets eaten. Its gets so bad you never land a fish. This is also a common event in front of Key West. I hear the same complaint from day boats all the time. Remember the sound of a boat means food. The Yankee Capts makes a lot of noise.

    ARS is a 10,000 page novel. I would be dead before I finished.

    If you want to learn how the system works I highly encourage you to contact the Gulf of Maine Institute and enroll in the Southeast MREP program. A crash course that is a eye opener.

    Greg
    YankeeCapts2013-1.jpg
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,386 Officer
    I kinda like the way the locals in LA deal with their shark problems. It sounds like the opening day of deer season out on the water when boats are congregated on the lump. Maybe it’s time to thin out the herd? Reminds me of that Southpark hunting episode, it’s not illegal to shoot them if they’re attacking you...just saying lol

    Just kidding..or not


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,386 Officer
    As far as the mutton limits going from 10 to 5......Hammer hit the nail on the head...
  • 101grunts101grunts Posts: 53 Greenhorn
    HAMMER you did something special to this soul he always have a nice comment about you.
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 985 Officer
    Grunts, he and a couple of other guys just despise me which kind of makes me smile. Even though they may agree with what I'm saying, they wouldn't dare ever agree with me on the forum. It's kind of like a Hillary supporter that wants the wall built but can't say it out loud. Ron's a self proclaimed do gooder, and that's fine. He trolls my posts like an ogre. I do miss little Gary C.. He was fun to poke fun of but since his wife left him, I guess he too is down in the dumps. I guess being a single unemployed fishing guide with no ability to meet women isn't all that fun but hey, you make your bed, you gotta lay in it. I did.

    Now, as far as these rules and regs go, those of you that know me know that I say it like it is, I don't care if it pisses off YOU, YOUR MOMMA, the moderators or the FEDS. The whole mutton thing is a joke. Do I agree with increasing the size... you betcha. Do I think we should be allowed to keep a couple of red snappers a trip.. you betcha. ASK ANY guide in Key West if we have a serious issue with red snappers. 40 years ago we didn't have a problem with them and there wasn't a limit. There were gobs of muttons. now, the places that we'd crush the muttons are SOLID red snappers.. WHY? I truly don't think that it's because of the closures. They are the stupidest of all the snappers without a doubt. Texas has told the federal Govt to go shove it and lets them catch them. Our state doesn't want to use common sense. Here's a fact that you may not know; A commercial fishermen in Key West WHO IS LICENSED with a Gulf license goes into the Gulf and catches lets say 1000 lbs of red snapper. Now this commercial fishermen doesn't have to have any quota while the fish are on his boat..(he can literally have a million pounds while on the water), He gets on his satellite phone, calls one of the big Red Snapper barons in La. and says "I need a 1000 lbs of quota", the guy on the other end says "OK, give me your credit card, it's $3.50 lb". The fishermen, who has never even met this baron face to face, buys the quota and sells it for $6 a pound making $2.50 a pound or $2500. The baron makes $3500 and never got up on his couch... and he of course thinks this is a great system... and truly fair. Oh but wait, it gets better for our baron friend. He gets to pass this "hard work" on to his children so that they too can work really hard on the couch. This is text book lobbyist BS. All of this occurs while we, the recreational sector get 2 fish per person for 9 days. Getting back to our little scenario...The commercial fishermen has to notify NOAA before he lands the fish and must tell them who he is selling to. NOAA either shows up at the dock or at the fish house to verify and make sure that the numbers are accurate. The fish house is suppose to let NOAA know if the commercial fishermen is over... kind of like the fox watching the hen house. If there's some fish left over the 1000 lbs of quote.. it merely is listed as some other species that there is no quota for... this is how the real world works.
  • dihrddihrd Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    So your saying you have a place I can sell the 11 boxes of ARS in the back of my truck right now?

    Ooh sorry i meant to send that via private messenger.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 7,421 Admiral
    Fished the patch reef in Marathon last year and never caught a Mutton or an ARS. I don't think this will affect me much.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 124 Deckhand
    The new restrictions will have the most impact during the spawn. It makes no sense to kill thousands of mature fish while they are trying to spawn. We protect lobster, stone crab, salmon, and now grouper and many other species during the spawn, why not muttons? Most on this forum have not seen the abuse I witnessed at several spawning aggregations over the last four decades, and I'm sorry to say I participated since if I didn't someone else would have taken those fish. I can tell you about the night I left with over 50 fish since I was already over the 10 fish/person limit, while the boat next to me with 3 guys on board stayed and got over 100 fish at Western Dry Rocks. Same story at the Ocean Reef spot off the now gone whistle buoy, the spot south of Carysfort, Molasses, Marathon, and worse of all Riley's Hump until it was closed. My father is as old school as it gets at 92 years young, and he has always been a proponent of a complete shut down of mutton during May and June. Worse part about all the fish that were killed during the spawn is that big muttons are not easy to sell, and many thousands of pounds were sold for as little as 16 cents/lb even as late as the 1980's. I think this step now might be too little too late, but it's a long delayed move that can only help. We should see more muttons year round as it should be. Besides, if they are large, you only need a few.
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,386 Officer
    xenia wrote: »
    The new restrictions will have the most impact during the spawn. It makes no sense to kill thousands of mature fish while they are trying to spawn. We protect lobster, stone crab, salmon, and now grouper and many other species during the spawn, why not muttons? Most on this forum have not seen the abuse I witnessed at several spawning aggregations over the last four decades, and I'm sorry to say I participated since if I didn't someone else would have taken those fish. I can tell you about the night I left with over 50 fish since I was already over the 10 fish/person limit, while the boat next to me with 3 guys on board stayed and got over 100 fish at Western Dry Rocks. Same story at the Ocean Reef spot off the now gone whistle buoy, the spot south of Carysfort, Molasses, Marathon, and worse of all Riley's Hump until it was closed. My father is as old school as it gets at 92 years young, and he has always been a proponent of a complete shut down of mutton during May and June. Worse part about all the fish that were killed during the spawn is that big muttons are not easy to sell, and many thousands of pounds were sold for as little as 16 cents/lb even as late as the 1980's. I think this step now might be too little too late, but it's a long delayed move that can only help. We should see more muttons year round as it should be. Besides, if they are large, you only need a few.

    Um...well....huh?
    Only thing I took from that is your a proponent of shutting down the known spawning areas during the spawn. I’m not sure I followed along on the rest of it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 124 Deckhand
    Shutting down all muttons during the spawn, since they get caught while moving between known spawning locations as well. Another point you missed since I probably wasn't too clear is that some known spawning sites do not have as many muttons on them during the spawning months as they used to, most probably due to the vast numbers that were taken there during the past. The one off Ocean Reef has been inactive for years, and I don't anyone that got more than 10-11 fish in a day at the one south of Carysfort last year, and many of the fish were small. These were places where catching 20-30 fish a day during May and June was common. But, it was that kind of pressure that I personally don't believe the fish should be under. They should be allowed to spawn, which will help the population in the long-term and give us more muttons throughout the year. You don't need 100 boats on Western Dry Rocks or other spawning sites around the full moon during the spawn, especially when some commercial boats take 8-10 people on board. Now they can only take 5/person instead of 10, but a lot of the damage is done.
  • Rich MRich M Posts: 850 Officer
    Imagine the outcry if they shut it down for May & June...

    I'm in favor of it - too many folks **** the resource during the spawn. By foregoing killing all the big females, we might actually have decent fishing for another 100 years or more.
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 742 Officer
    FYI the past 3 years no one fished the major mutton spawn on Dry Rocks. It is not when you think. So DO NOT believe everything you hear or read on the internet.

    I was there. The muttons were there. We didn't fish. Just confirmed they were there. Plus yellowtails and greys.

    Greg
    YankeeCapts2013-1.jpg
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 124 Deckhand
    That was not the case for many years. Boats were there around the full moon if force. I was there as well. I haven't been back since 2010, so I can't speak to anything that's happened there since then, but a lot of spawning muttons were taken there.
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 742 Officer
    xenia wrote: »
    That was not the case for many years. Boats were there around the full moon if force. I was there as well. I haven't been back since 2010, so I can't speak to anything that's happened there since then, but a lot of spawning muttons were taken there.

    2010 was a different century when it comes to fisheries management.

    Greg
    YankeeCapts2013-1.jpg
  • Captain EasyCaptain Easy Posts: 145 Officer
    Since longlines were banned for sharks the population has exploded. I have lost so many spots because of this. You hook a mutton and then it gets eaten. Its gets so bad you never land a fish. This is also a common event in front of Key West. I hear the same complaint from day boats all the time. Remember the sound of a boat means food. The Yankee Capts makes a lot of noise.

    Amen! The sharks have gotten unbelievably bad in the upper keys as well. Most people don't understand what a toll they're taking on our fisheries. We're feeding so many fish to the sharks that it makes bag limits useless. I try to just move on to another spot when the sharks are bad so I don't feed nice muttons, Groupers, tunas, and just about everything else to them, but the sharks have gotten so bad they're on every spot!
    Capt. Bruce Andersen
    Captain Easy Charters
    34 Crusader
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    Easy Does It Fishing Charters
    Conch 27
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    305-360-2120
    Smugglers Marine
    Islamorada Florida
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  • XafXaf Posts: 938 Officer
    Is the abundance of sharks on anyone's radar? Will the Fish Management Guru's see the abundance as a good thing or a problem?
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