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FWC Commission Votes to Expand Spawning Season Closure for Permit in the SPZ

At their February meeting in Tallahassee, the FWC Commission voted to expand the spawning season closure for permit in the Special Permit Zone. We applaud the Commission for their commitment to conserving this important flats species.

Beginning in 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission enacted new regulations for permit, creating a Special Permit Zone (SPZ) in the Florida Keys. The SPZ includes all state and federal waters south of Cape Sable on the Gulf Coast and south of Cape Florida on the Atlantic Coast. One of the new regulations in the SPZ was to close harvest during permit spawning season, which was identified as May through July. New data from Project Permit’s Acoustic Tracking Project, a collaboration with Carleton University, University of Massachusetts, and FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, and observations of guides and anglers indicate that permit are showing up earlier on the reefs and wrecks to spawn—they are arriving in April. Based on this information, BTT requested that the FWC Commission expand the spawning season harvest closure to encompass April through July. 

This action by the FWC Commission shows how collaboration between BTT, FWC, and fishing guides and anglers can provide the science needed to make informed management decisions that will benefit the fishery for the long term. 

We thank BTT sponsors Costa Sunglasses and the March Merkin Permit Tournament for their support of BTT's permit research. (PC: Pat Ford)

Read the press release here.