The recreational red drum daily bag limit in the northwest red drum management zone (Escambia County through Fred Howard Park near Pasco County) will be lowered from two fish to one fish per person starting Sunday, May 1. All other red drum regulations remain the same, including the eight fish vessel limit.
Florida’s iconic red drum fishery has a high economic and social value in northwest Florida and is managed for abundance statewide in order to ensure a quality angler fishing experience.
In the past year, stakeholders have expressed concerns that red drum populations have declined in parts of the Panhandle since 2013, the final year of data included in the most recent stock assessment.
This change is a precautionary conservation measure. Staff will continue gathering public input on red drum populations and management statewide and the Commission will consider whether this region-wide bag limit reduction is appropriate as a long-term management measure when it reconvenes in June at Apalachicola.
Staff are also collecting public input in the northeast region of Florida, where stock assessment population estimates indicate numbers may have seen a decline at the conclusion of the assessment period (2013). The stock is still exceeding management goals in that area.