Keep Florida Fishing Celebrates Final Approval of State Reef Fish Survey by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Expanded Florida survey will improve private recreational data collection 

Tallahassee, FL – June 2, 2020 – Keep Florida Fishing, the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) Florida-based industry advocacy arm, commends the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for giving final approval to the State Reef Fish Survey during its May meeting. Beginning July 1, 2020, Florida anglers targeting certain reef fish species must register for the free survey. Registered anglers will be randomly selected to provide information on their catch by mail and may also be interviewed dockside.

The FWC has consistently been a world leader in fisheries management. In response to recreational requests for improved timeliness and precision of data collected on offshore species, in 2015 the FWC implemented its highly successful Gulf Reef Fish Survey (GRFS). The GRFS was an important consideration for the delegation of Gulf red snapper management to Florida in state and federal waters that resulted in a dramatic increase in angler access – from a proposed 3-day federal season in 2017 to a 45-day season in 2020.

“Thank you to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for establishing the State Reef Fish Survey,” said Kellie Ralston, ASA’s Southeast Fisheries Policy director. “This is a huge step forward for recreational data collection and will lead to continued management improvements of important federal species for Florida’s more than four million anglers. With significant gains in access for anglers in the Gulf, we look forward to seeing what can be accomplished in the Atlantic now that the survey has been expanded statewide.”

Ralston further said, “We also appreciate the leadership and support of Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature in recognizing the importance of the state’s $11.5 billion sportfishing industry and the need for this survey.”

Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World,” with more than four million anglers who generate $11.5 billion in economic impact, support more than 106,000 jobs and contribute $56.7 million to state conservation efforts through license fees and special taxes on motorboat fuel and equipment.