The snook closure in Florida Gulf of Mexico waters, Everglades National Park and Monroe County state and federal waters will remain in effect this year. Snook season in the Atlantic is still set open as planned on Sept. 1.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to maintain the closure at its June meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The closure was put in place in December, 2010after unusually cold weather in the winter of 2009-2010 took a heavy toll on the snook population on Florida’s west coast.
The vote to continue the closure hinged on the testimony of a number of area fishing guides, who urged the commission to continue the closure due to the lack of large breeder-sized fish.
“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. “We’ll really have done something good and we’ll have protected some of these fish.”
Anglers may still catch-and-release snook in the Gulf closed areas, but are urged to handle fish carefully to insure their survival.