Hogfish – New Rules for Florida Keys Begin August 24 2017

The FWC approved several management changes to hogfish. These changes will go into effect in on Aug. 24, 2017. Approved changes include:

  • A new state management boundary between the Keys/east Florida and Gulf stocks will be at 25 degrees 9 minutes north latitude (a line due west of Cape Sable, which is on the Gulf side of Florida). Once effective, hogfish north of Cape Sable will be managed as Gulf hogfish, and those south of that line, around the tip of Florida and up the Atlantic coast, will be managed as Atlantic hogfish.
  • Lowering the Atlantic recreational daily bag limit from five to one fish per harvester.
  • Setting an Atlantic recreational harvest season of May 1 through Oct. 31.
  • Increasing the Atlantic recreational and commercial minimum size limit from 12 to 16 inches fork length.
  • Increasing the Gulf recreational and commercial minimum size limit from 12 to 14 inches fork length.
  • Setting the minimum importation and sale size limit to 14 inches fork length statewide.

Learn more

Hogfish map

Measuring Hogfish

Hogfish: Lachnolaimus maximus

Florida Regulations: 

Regulations   Gulf State Waters Atlantic State Waters (includes all state and federal waters south of Cape Sable, including the Florida Keys)
Minimum Size Limit 12” fork

Will be 14″ fork Aug. 24, 2017

12″ fork

Will be 16″ fork Aug. 24, 2017

 Daily Bag Limit  5 per harvester 5 per harvester

Will change to 1 per harvester

Aug. 24, 2017

Effective Aug. 24, 2017: Minimum importation and sale size limit: 14″ FL state wide

State Waters Harvest Seasons

Gulf Season:  Open year around (closures only if annual catch limit is met or exceeded)

Atlantic state season: Currently open. The newly approved May 1-Oct. 31 open season will go into effect Aug. 24, 2017.

Federal waters early closure: All federal waters south of Cape Sable in the Gulf, around the tip of Florida, and up the Atlantic coast will close to recreational and commercial hogfish harvest starting Aug. 24.

Recreational harvest of hogfish in state waters remains open. FWC will consider whether to close the recreational hogfish season in adjacent state waters at the Sept. 27-28 meeting in Okeechobee. If no action is taken at the September Commission meeting, the recreational fishery in these state waters will close Nov. 1, 2017, as previously scheduled.

Commercial harvest of hogfish will close Aug. 24 in both state and federal waters from Cape Sable in the Gulf, around the tip of Florida, and up the Atlantic coast.

See below for other changes that go into effect Aug. 24 in state waters.

State waters: The FWC approved several management changes to hogfish at the November Commission meeting in St. Petersburg. These changes will go into effect in on Aug. 24, 2017. Approved changes include:

  • A new state management boundary between the Keys/east Florida and Gulf hogfish stocks will be at 25 degrees 9 minutes north latitude (a line due west of Cape Sable, which is on the Gulf side of Florida). Once effective, hogfish north of Cape Sable will be managed as Gulf hogfish, and those south of that line, around the tip of Florida and up the Atlantic coast, will be managed as Atlantic hogfish.
  • Lowering the Atlantic recreational daily bag limit from five to one fish per harvester.
  • Setting an Atlantic recreational harvest season of May 1 through Oct. 31.

Gear Requirements:

Federal waters:12″ FL; 5 per person per dayNEW: The following changes will go into effect Aug. 24, 2017:

  • For persons harvesting hogfish in Gulf federal waters south of Cape Sable and in all Atlantic federal waters, new regulations include: a 16-inch minimum size limit, a 25-lb. commercial trip limit, a 1-fish/person recreational bag limit, and a May-October recreational season.
  • For persons harvesting hogfish in Gulf federal waters north of Cape Sable, new regulations include a 14-inch minimum size limit.

Related Post  Snook Season in Gulf Waters and Florida Keys
Related Post  Herbed Hogfish On The Grill from Islamorada

Habitat and Fishing Tips:

Hogfish are a reef species that inhabit rocky bottoms, ledges and reefs throughout Florida’s off-shore waters. They are easily identified by their long, hog-like snout, which allows them to feed on bottom-dwelling mollusks and crustaceans. Because they tend to root in the sediment in search of small prey, they are not commonly caught on hook and line. Hogfish are primarily harvested by spearfishing, and they are considered to be of excellent food quality. Florida Rule  Gulf Federal Waters Rules Atlantic Federal Waters Rules  State Record:  19 lb 8 oz, caught in Daytona Beach.

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