The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have temporarily put snook and redfish on the catch-and-release only list.
In response to the naturally-occurring red tide bloom in Southwest Florida an executive order was initiated on Aug. 30. The government agency has the executive order in effect until the next FWC Commission meeting, which will be on Sept. 26.
People that are fishing between Anna Maria Island all the way down to Gordon Pass in Collier County, must release any snook and redfish they catch.
The FWC plans to work with local communities and partners in an effort to ensure the recovery of the fisheries.
"We've seen the devastation to the redfish and snook populations in Southwest Florida and we support the catch-and-release initiative taken by FWC," Brian Gorski, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association Florida, said in a statement.
The Temporary Modification of Regulations for Snook and Red Drum in Southwest Florida , otherwise referred to as Order No. EO 18-38, provides specifics for people fishing in SWFL regarding their potential interaction with Red Drum or Snook.
The man or woman fishing in the areas where the order complies should only have temporary possession of the fish for purposes of "photographing, measuring or weighing (with a hand-held scale)." The person, the order continues, "must release such Red Drum or Snook alive and unharmed in the immediate area where it was caught, immediately after it has been photographed, measured, or weighed."
The order by the FWC looks to the long-term prosperity of snook and redfish fisheries, where eventually people in SWFL can resume recreational catching of the popular sporting fish.
"In working with the FWC on this initiative," Gorski said, "we've heard support from members and guides throughout the state who also understand the need for such a change, to ensure that generations to come can enjoy the thrill of catching one of these iconic species."