CRESTVIEW — Tarpon and bonefish become catch-and-release only fisheries beginning Sept. 1.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved this measure June 12 to recognize that bonefish and tarpon’s economic and fishing values greatly exceed their value as food fishes.
The following changes go into effect Sept. 1 in state and federal waters off Florida:
•All tarpon harvests will be eliminated, except for a single tarpon harvest or possession for an International Game Fish Association record, along with a tarpon tag.
•Tarpon tags are limited to one per person annually, licensed charter boat captains and fishing guides.
•Transport or shipment limit is one fish per person.
•There is a one-fish-per-vessel limit for tarpon.
•Gear is limited to hook-and-line only.
•Multiple hooks along with live or dead natural bait may not be used to target or harvest tarpon, or to target bonefish.
•People may temporarily possess a tarpon for photography, measuring length and girth, and scientific sampling, but tarpon more than 40 inches long must remain in the water.
•The bonefish tournament exemption permit — which allowed tournament anglers with the proper permit to temporarily possess bonefish for transport to a tournament scale — is eliminated.