FWC's Fishing in the Know - October 2017


October 2017

FWC's Fishing in the Know

Division of Marine Fisheries Management Monthly Newsletter

Make sure you have all the proper tools and gear on your vessel before heading out for the day. Check out the Saltwater Fishing Checklist for items you can use for a successful day on the water!


Have amazing fish photos? 

FWC is looking for a cover shot for the 2018 Saltwater Regulations Publication. Photo needs to be high quality and vertically oriented. Prefer sailfish, but all photos welcome.

Submit your photos by emailing them to Saltwater@MyFWC.com. Learn more about our photo guidelines.

Photo courtesy of Jose Juncadello

Goliath Grouper Workshops

Action: Share your input on goliath grouper management

Information: FWC hosted several in-person workshops in July and August and will host several more in October to gather public input on goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters.

An on-demand virtual workshop and workshop survey for this species is also available online and can be found by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking “Saltwater Fishing,” “Public Comments/Workshops” and “Workshops.”

Upcoming workshops are currently scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. local time (unless otherwise specified) at the following dates and locations (check link below for up-to-date workshop information including event addresses):

  • Oct. 9: Jacksonville
  • Oct. 10: Titusville
  • Oct. 11: Stuart
  • Oct. 12: Davie
  • Oct. 16: Pinellas Park
  • Oct. 17: Port Charlotte
  • Oct. 18: Naples
  • Oct. 25: Tallahassee (6-9 p.m. ET)

Open-ended public comments may also be submitted online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

Link for more information:

Workshops [MyFWC.com]

Bay Scallops Workshops

Action: Share your input on bay scallop season structure and more

Information: FWC is hosting several workshops this October to gather public input on the staggered bay scallop season structure that was implemented in 2017 and the bay scallop fishery in general.

Upcoming workshops are currently scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. local time (unless otherwise specified) at the following dates and locations (check link below for up-to-date workshop information including event addresses):

  • Oct. 12: Port St. Joe (5:30-7:30 p.m. ET)
  • Oct. 16: Steinhatchee
  • ·Oct. 17: Land O’Lakes
  • Oct. 18: Crystal River
  • Oct. 25: Carrabelle

Open-ended public comments may also be submitted online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

Link for more information:

Workshops [MyFWC.com]

2017 Lionfish Challenge

Action: Lionfish King and Commercial Champion winners announced

Information: The 2017 winners of the Lionfish Challenge are Ken Ayers Jr. of Panama City (recreational category) and Joshua Livingston of Destin (commercial category). A total of 26,321 lionfish were removed during the four-month challenge. Ayers removed 1,250 and Livingston removed 4,560 pounds, which equates to about 5,027 fish.

A total of 120 recreational and commercial harvesters participated in the statewide lionfish removal incentive program.

This program could not have been possible without the help from 34 dive shops that served as checkpoints for recreational submissions and the generous support of the following sponsors: Engel Coolers, ZombieStickz Lionfish Eliminator and Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium.

While this year’s Lionfish Challenge may be over, there are still plenty of other great programs that encourage lionfish removal. Check out the new and improved Reef Rangers website (ReefRangers.com), which launched Sept. 5. Participants that adopt a reef by Oct. 5 will receive a Reef Rangers Lionfish Control Team t-shirt and tank sticker.

Link for more information:

Lionfish Challenge [MyFWC.com]

Gray Triggerfish – Gulf 

Action: Recreational season resumes Oct. 7

Information: The recreational gray triggerfish season in Gulf state waters will be open Oct. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22. The weekend of the 21 and 22 was added to offset impacts of Hurricane Irma. Gray triggerfish remain closed to harvest in Gulf federal waters.

Link for more information:

Triggerfish [MyFWC.com]

Red Snapper - Atlantic Federal

2017 weekend fall season pending

Information: A potential 2017 weekend fall season in Atlantic federal waters is pending final approval. Season dates will be posted online at the link below. Red snapper is open year-round in Atlantic state waters, from shore to 3 nautical miles. 

Link for more information:

Snappers [MyFWC.com]

Bay Scallops – Gulf County

Action: Gulf County season open Sept. 23-Oct. 8

Information: The bay scallop season in state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County is open for harvest from Sept. 23 through Oct. 8, closing Oct. 9.

The 2017 season was postponed earlier this year due to a naturally occurring algae bloom that affects shellfish. Recent samples have indicated that scallops in St. Joseph Bay are safe for human consumption.

All other regulations apply. The scallop population in Gulf County continues to recover from a 2015 red tide. Restoration efforts are underway in the southeast area of the bay, south of Black’s Island. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area marked with FWC buoys is prohibited.

Link for more information:

Scallops [MyFWC.com]

Commission Meeting – Cancelled

September meeting cancelled

Information: FWC’s top priority is to provide significant resources to statewide efforts to help our citizens and visitors recover from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma. In order to assure all resources are focused on recovery efforts, the FWC Commission meeting that was scheduled for Sept. 27 and 28 has been cancelled. The next meeting will be held during the week of Dec. 4 in Gainesville.

Link for more information:

Agenda [MyFWC.com]

Measuring stone crab claws

Stone Crab – Season Opens

Action: Recreational and commercial season opens Oct. 15 in state and federal waters


  • Only the claws may be harvested
  • Although it is currently lawful to harvest both of a stone crab's claws, this practice leaves the stone crab with few ways to defend itself from predators. FWC encourages people to only take a single claw.
  • Claws must be 2 ¾ inches to be harvested
  •  Recreational limit: 1 gallon of claws per person, 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less
  • Harvest of claws from females with eggs is prohibited
  • May 16: Season closes
  • Do not use any device that can puncture, crush or injure the crab’s body
  • Recreational harvesters may use up to 5 stone crab traps per person
  • The trap throat (entrance) must be no larger than 5 ½” x 3 1/8” in Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. In all other counties, entrances can be no larger than 5 ½” x 3 ½”. Round entrances are not allowed in Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties and can be no more than 5 inches in diameter elsewhere in the state.

Links for more information:

Stone Crab Information  [MyFWC.com]

Stone Crab Trap

Spotted Seatrout Online Workshop

Action: Share your input on the future of spotted seatrout management online by attending an on-demand virtual workshop.

Information: This online workshop includes the same content as what was given at 12 in-person workshops that were held across the state in July and August.

Learn more about the recent stock assessment and share your comments on the management of this species.

Open-ended public comments may also be submitted online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

Link for more information:

Workshops [MyFWC.com]

FWC needs your feedback

Information: FWC is collecting feedback on several fisheries issues including shrimp, flounder, and trap fisheries.

Provide comments on these or other fisheries online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

Link for more information:

Saltwater Comments [MyFWC.com]

Angler recognition logo

Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs

Catch a Florida Memory today

Information: Participation in any of these three programs encourages ethical angling while earning rewards for your efforts.

  • Saltwater Fish Life List: A list of 71 different species. Can you catch them all?
  • Saltwater Reel Big Fish: Recognition for extraordinarily-sized catches.
  • Saltwater Grand Slams: Earn rewards for catching three different specified species in a 24-hour period.

Link for more information:



Goliath Grouper Workshops

Bay Scallop Workshops

2017 Lionfish Challenge

Gray Triggerfish – Gulf

Red Snapper – Atlantic Federal

Bay Scallops – Gulf County

Commission Meeting – Cancelled

Stone crab

Seatrout Online Workshop

FWC needs your feedback

Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs



State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf and from shore to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic.  

Oct. 5 – Blue crab (Gulf state waters beyond 3 nautical miles) opens

Oct. 7, 8 – Gray triggerfish (Gulf) open

Oct. 9 – Bay scallops (Gulf County) closes

Oct. 14, 15 – Gray triggerfish (Gulf) open

Oct. 15 – Stone crab opens

Oct. 21, 22 – Gray triggerfish (Gulf) open

Nov. 1 – Hogfish (Keys/Atlantic) closes

Nov. 1 – Blue land crab opens



Jay Cooper of Apalachicola with this amazing tripletail catch.



Lionfish Events Calendar

Oct. 7 – Women’s Fishing Clinic – Crystal River

Oct. 9 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Jacksonville

Oct. 10 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Titusville

Oct. 11 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Stuart

Oct. 12 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Davie

Oct. 12 – Bay Scallop Workshop – Port St. Joe

Oct. 16 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Pinellas Park

Oct. 16 – Bay Scallop Workshop – Steinhatchee

Oct. 17 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Port Charlotte

Oct. 17 – Bay Scallop Workshop – Land O’Lakes

Oct. 18 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Naples

Oct. 18 – Bay Scallop Workshop – Crystal River

Oct. 25 – Goliath Grouper Workshop – Tallahassee

Oct. 26 – Bay Scallop Workshop - Carrabelle

Nov. 18 – Kid’s Fishing Clinic - Sarasota


lionfish king

All hail the King(s)! 

Congratulations to this year’s 2017 Lionfish Challenge winners Ken Ayers Jr. (pictured) and Captain Josh Livingston. Ken, of Panama City, took home the recreational Lionfish King award for his harvest of 1,250 lionfish. Captain Josh of Destin became Florida’s first ever Commercial Champion after removing 4,560 pounds of lionfish, which roughly equates to about 5,027 lionfish. 

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