It’s been three long years since a relentless cold snap in early 2010 depleted the Gulf snook population, particularly the juveniles, by nearly 15 percent.
The season has remained closed since then, to allow for the fish to recuperate from the loss.
Now wildlife officials say they have seen the species go through a vast recovery. In June, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission decided to allow the recreational harvest of Gulf of Mexico snook to reopen this September.
Once reopened, the stock should continue to rebuild within a relatively short time to 2010 stock levels, thanks to management efforts such as regular closed seasons and the slot limit, which protects both juveniles and the more productive larger fish, according to the FWC.
When the Gulf recreational harvest reopens September 1, anglers are still expected to mind all the bag limits, size limits, gear restrictions as well as the scheduled closed seasons. This includes the one-fish-per-person, per-day bag limit, the 28- to 33-inch total length slot limit and the two annual closures in Gulf waters, which run from December 1 through the end of February and May 1 through August 31.
The next stock assessment for snook is scheduled for 2015.