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What do you guys think we should be recommending to the FWC re: Flounder

FS BlairFS Blair Krueger Creek, FLPosts: 1,857 Admin

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (maybe a very flat rock?), you know flounder have been on the decline. Turns out an FWC stock status update bears that out. The commission has been working on several management updates, some of which we think are wise, others we feel smell a bit too much like fishy concessions to sellers. As with red snapper and certain groupers, public angling seasons are sometimes curtailed to make room for market fishing. Managers often brush this stuff off by pointing to “small commercial fisheries” (flounder landings are said to be 90 percent recreational), but Florida citizens are likely to wonder next fall, when commercial boats return to the docks brimming with flounders during “closed season.”

Anyway, here’s what the FWC is slated to vote on, on Dec. 16.

> Increase the flounder minimum size to 14 inches, from the current 12 inches. We think that’s a good idea. Not much meat on the little ones, and the extra two inches ensures more reach maturity. True for both southern and Gulf flounder.

> Decrease recreational daily bag limit to 5 fish (it has been 10 for many years). We also think that’s a good idea…

> Establish an Oct. 15-Nov. 30 recreational season closure. Meh. If it’s needed, then okay, but there are many closures already on the calendars, and the odd mid-month period is sure to generate confusion. FWC last year added a Nov. 1-Dec. 31 seatrout closure in Central East Florida that many anglers still aren’t fully aware of (plus, snook closes Dec. 15 there—that’s a lotta dates!). Season and area closures should be a last resort as a way of managing recreational anglers looking for a sunny weekend.

> Season commercial trip and vessel limits when using allowable gear of 150 fish except from Oct. 15-Nov. 30 and 50 fish from Oct. 15-Nov. 30. Better than the current commercial limit, which is unlimited! But one person keeping 150 flounder per day? And “only” 50 during the month and a half when no one else is permitted to keep even one (a prime season, too)? Sheesh.

> Modify incidental bycatch limit for non-allowable gear to 50 fish (it was 50 pounds).

> Create a federal waters trawl bycatch limit of 150 fish except from Oct. 15-Nov. 30 and 50 fish from Oct. 15-Nov. 30. These last two are scripted to account for flounder bycatch in shrimp trawls or other commercial gear. They come up dead, may as well go to market? Underscores the dirty side of some fisheries, but there you go.

> Extend FWC flounder regulations into federal waters. Usually a good bet for any species, to clear up confusion, and of course a great many flounder are caught on reefs beyond state waters limits (3 miles on the Atlantic and 9 miles on the Gulf).

You may comment on the FWC flounder recommendations live during the call-in meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Or, you may submit comments in advance by 5 p.m. Dec. 11. The FWC is very good about soliciting public comment. Go to and pull down the “About Us” tab and you’ll see link for “Tell Us What You Think” or “Rule Change Comments.”


There are some other important issues on the agenda for that Dec. 16-17 FWC meeting, including a draft proposal to close some popular fishing reefs off Key West (yikes!), a review of shark populations and depredation issues, an overview of lobster fisheries, and an update on Chronic Wasting Disease Prevention Measures (vital to protect Florida’s deer population).


We’ll try to bring more updates in advance of the meeting, but until then, you can see the agenda and background materials at Find “Commission Meetings” under “About Us.”


  • Bigfish5Bigfish5 Posts: 457 Deckhand
    I am good with the new regulations EXCEPT the closure.    I am fishing hard for flounder those months, and i want to bring a meal home.   I think cutting the bag limit in half and raising the size limit is enough.    The closure during the best flounder fishing of the year makes me think this is more of a money fish grab than anything else.    I want a reason to fish in October and November!    NOT COOL MAN!     

    P.S.   in NE Florida the flounder fishing is still pretty good if you know how to catch them.   The closure is an inshore example of the Red Snapper closure.    Someone's pockets must be getting padded somehow.
  • flounderholicflounderholic Posts: 2 Greenhorn
    The flounder run has been closed in many states such as the Carolinas for a while now if I recall correctly. I think having a slot size for flounder would be helpful, I heard big female flounder hold way more eggs than the average 2-4 pounder. If we release the bigger ones kinda like we do with redfish it could potentially help the population rebound. I love flounder and it’s really sad to see a 22+ inch flounder die. 
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