Snook Season in Gulf Closes for Another Year
A cold winter in 2010 depleted the snook population, which resulted in the closing of snook season in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted last week to keep the recreational harvest of snook in Gulf of Mexico waters closed for another year to offer the species additional protection after a 2010 cold kill detrimentally affected the population.
According to a news release, the decision came at the June 28 Commission meeting in Palm Beach Gardens after staff presented an updated stock assessment that showed snook populations are improving in the Atlantic and are not in biological jeopardy in the Gulf. The next assessment is due in 2015.
“If we have a bad winter this year, we will benefit from this caution; if we don’t have a bad winter, we will let all these breeding fish come through the slot,” said Vice Chairman Kenneth Wright, referring to the snook slot limit of 28 to 33 inches in Gulf of Mexico waters, said in a news release. “We’ll really have done something good and we’ll have protected some of these fish.”
The recreational snook season was closed in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters by executive order on Jan.16, 2010, after the cold kill. The Wildlife Commission manages snook in both state and federal waters, though the species tends to inhabit the shallower, near-shore state waters.
The Gulf of Mexico recreational season was to reopen Sept. 1 and now is expected to reopen Sept. 1, 2013, a news release said. Catch-and-release of snook will be allowed during the closure. In the Atlantic, the season will remain unchanged. Annual closures in the Atlantic are from Dec. 15 through Jan. 31 and from June 1 through Aug. 31.
There is no commercial harvest for snook in Florida.