Angler Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation. Anglers play a critical role in fisheries conservation. The challenge is not only to recruit new anglers, but also to retain current anglers and reactivate previous anglers. The commission is working internally and externally to develop programs to recruit, retain, and reactivate anglers in Florida. The commission issued a Fishing Action Plan in support of this effort in November 2018.
In addition, the agency's commissioners approved development of a fishing grant program in May 2019 to increase participation in freshwater fishing. The new program allows the commission to offer grants to partner organizations that helping achieve participation goals, assisting with fisheries research, and evaluating the effectiveness of R3 (Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation) programs.
Shoal Bass. The commission reports the shoal bass population in the Chipola River and its tributaries has potentially been affected due to the effects of Hurricane Michael. Recent sampling efforts have produced significantly lower catches of shoal bass. Consequently, the commission issued a rule change in October 2019, suspending the harvest and possession of shoal bass from the Chipola River and its tributaries. Anglers are permitted to catch and immediately release shoal bass. Shoal bass are also being kept at the Blackwater Hatchery for spawning and restocking efforts to protect this species.
Annual Report for Youth Hunting and Fishing Programs FY 2018-19, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, December 2019.
Websites of Interest
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Inspector General
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Research Publications
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Strategic Plan
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service