Proposed Rules For Swordfish, Blue Runner

The next FWC Commission Meeting will be held on November 21, 2013 in Weston. On the agenda are a couple of issues that could impact Southwest Florida’s offshore anglers.

First is a draft rule discussion on swordfish. NOAA Fisheries Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Division recently changed federal commercial swordfish rules. The proposed draft rule would make state swordfish rules consistent with federal rules including…
designate swordfish as a restricted species
change the minimum cleithrum to keel length measurement for swordfish harvest from 29 to 25 inches
provide an exception from recreational bag and vessel limits for persons commercially harvesting swordfish pursuant to a saltwater products license and either a federal Swordfish General Commercial permit or HMS Charter/Headboat permit when not carrying passengers. It would also clarify that a valid restricted species endorsement is required for commercial harvest.
A new subsection would clarify that if adjacent federal waters are closed to commercial harvest of swordfish, corresponding state waters shall also be closed until federal waters are reopened to harvest. Harvest, possession, or landing for commercial purposes, and purchase, sale, or exchange of swordfish would be prohibited during such closure.
clarify that swordfish may only be harvested by hook and line in state waters.
allow persons to sell swordfish harvested commercially pursuant to a federal Swordfish General Commercial permit or federal HMS Charter/Headboat permit (swordfish may not be harvested on a for-hire trip). The proposed draft rule would also clarify that a person who harvests swordfish may not sell swordfish unless the harvester possesses a valid restricted species endorsement. This subsection would also be modified to require wholesale dealers purchasing swordfish to possess a valid federal Atlantic swordfish dealer permit.

Blue Runner

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) recently approved an amendment to remove blue runner from the federal snapper grouper fishery management plan partially because the FWC agreed to regulate blue runner harvest in federal waters of the Atlantic.
The proposed final rule would create a new rule chapter in Florida Administrative Code for blue runner.
The rule would define blue runner as any fish of the species Caranx crysos and set the recreational daily bag limit for blue runner at 100 fish in state waters and extend the proposed bag limit into federal waters.
A saltwater products license (SPL) to harvest blue runner in quantities greater than the recreational bag limit from state or federal waters off Florida, and to harvest blue runner for commercial purposes from state or federal waters.