Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Red Snapper and Turtle Season News Releases

There has been lots of news lately regarding two very important species associated with Florida's marine waters-red snapper and sea turtles. I wanted to share with you the news releases that FWC put out today.

Florida sea turtles have productive 2010 nesting season

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), all three species of sea turtles that nest regularly on the state’s beaches had annual nest counts well above average for the previous 10 years. This news is especially good for loggerhead sea turtles, which have experienced declines in nesting in recent years. Loggerheads, the species that most commonly nests in Florida, had nest counts that were 30 percent higher than the 10-year average.
“We’re encouraged by the high count, especially considering the oil spill and the extreme cold weather earlier in the year,” said Dr. Blair Witherington, an FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute scientist. “However, one good year can’t reverse a declining trend. It will take many years of data to determine if this is a new nesting trend – obviously one that we would like to see continue in the future.”
Nest numbers for leatherback and green sea turtles also continued to increase, with nests in 2010 totaling the second-highest since standardized counts began in 1989.
Nest counts are performed each year through Florida’s Index Nesting Beach Survey, which was created to measure seasonal sea turtle nesting, and to allow for accurate comparisons among beaches and years. The standardized index counts take place on 248 miles of selected beaches along both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In one of the largest wildlife counts in the nation, hundreds of partners diligently survey Florida’s Index Nesting Beaches throughout the summer sea turtle nesting season. “It’s a big job that requires a dedicated group of nest-counting experts,” Witherington said. “It’s especially rewarding for those involved when the turtles make a good showing.”
FWC’s role in coordinating Florida’s sea turtle nest counts is funded by sales of the sea turtle license plate. For more information about sea turtles, including nesting information, visit MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle. Sick or injured sea turtles can be reported by contacting the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). To view this press release online visit http://myfwc.com/NEWSROOM/10/statewide/News_10_X_SeaTurtlesNest2.htm.

Bonus recreational red snapper harvest weekends set to begin in Gulf

The recreational harvest of red snapper in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters off Florida will be open for eight consecutive three-day weekends, beginning Friday, Oct. 1. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages anglers to enjoy these extra weekend fishing days for Gulf red snapper, which were made possible because harvest levels of these fish were lower than expected this past summer.
The regular recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf waters took place from June 1 until July 24 this year. This season was set based on projections of how many red snapper recreational anglers could catch without exceeding the annual harvest quota, which was established to help rebuild overfished stocks so that anglers can benefit from better red snapper fishing in the future.
However, the recreational fishing effort for Gulf red snapper by private and charter boats was much less than anticipated, due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which resulted in fishing closures and cancelled fishing trips in federal and state waters off parts of Florida’s Gulf coast. Consequently, the Gulf recreational red snapper quota was not met during the regular season, which means more fishing days can be opened this fall.
Anglers, except for the captain and crew of for-hire vessels, may keep two red snapper greater than 16 inches total length per person on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning Oct. 1 and extending for eight consecutive weekends through Sunday, Nov. 21.
Updated information about red snapper management and regulations is available online at www.MyFWC.com/Rules (click on “Fishing – Saltwater”).

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