FWC to consider reopening snook season
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
MATLACHA, Fla. - Florida Fish and Wildlife commissioners begin meeting on Tuesday. A big decision they'll make is whether to allow people to fish for snook. Not just catch and release them.
"Fishing is a passion," said Chris Stanford, of St. James City. "It's something I grew up doing."
On a picture perfect Monday evening on Matlacha, Standford, added, "I think it's time to open it back up."
Stanford brought his passion to the dock.
"I think the fishery has had long enough to recover," said Stand ford. "I see a lot of fish out there. I see big breeding stock snook stacked up in some of the passes."
He's talking about a Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) recommendation to re-open the snook harvest season in the Gulf of Mexico. If FWC leaders do, it'd be the first time since an emergency closure in January 2010, when an extreme cold front threatened the fish. Since then, researchers have been monitoring them.
"Our research shows that snook populations are meeting and exceeding our management goals," said Amanda Nalley, a spokesperson for FWC. "That means their populations are doing better."
But snook fishing opponents still worry.
"I'd like to see the population grow before they lift the ban so we'll have more fish," said Donna Basile, of Cape Coral.
Basile's daughter, Ashley, added, "Throw them back and when the population gets bigger, we could have a limit to how many people can have."
But for Chris Stanford, lifting the ban just makes sense.
"A lot of people would like to come here and catch a snook," said Stanford. "Or those people are just going to go to the east coast and fish."
And if southwest Florida wants to compete, he says, this would only help.
FWC commissioners are expected to decide by Thursday. If they vote to re-open the season, it would begin September 1.