Red Tide overwhelmed the west coast of Florida from late 2017 to early 2019. This devastation caused immense amounts of sea life to be killed off, including one of Florida’s and the Gulf of Mexico’s largest Redfish fisheries and spawning grounds.
Redfish were put on the catch-and-release list previously. The first catch-and-release ordinance was set to last until May 2019. Now that May has come and gone, the FWC has voted to extend the catch-and-release mandate for Redfish. Red Drum are now on the list until May 31st, 2020. The catch-and-release order is only in affect from Pasco county to Gordon Pass in Collier County. However, this does also include all waters in Hillsborough county and Tampa Bay.
In May 2020, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will re-evaluate. The CCA, Duke Energy and FWC are trying their best to help re-stock Redfish along the west coast. The re-stock initiative will aid in determining if post May 2020, Redfish will be back on the menu.
If you decide to still fish for the thrill of the chase; we ask you to take a picture with your catch and use the social media hashtag #releasethemfortomorrow. This ‘Release Them for Tomorrow’ social media initiative is to help notify all anglers that Redfish are on the catch-and-release list. The adults should be immediately released back into the water, so they can continue thriving and spawning into the new year.
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