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Should be raise size limits on most fish?

Old 08-26-2020, 08:27 AM
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Default Should be raise size limits on most fish?

Insert species here:
Why not? Why not raise them so we let them grow a few more inches and then most people will start catching a little bigger fish and having to take less to have some dinner? As an example......east coast reef Yellowtail. Why not raise them to 16" instead of allowing us to keep 12" fish? Any data that would justify or negate raising the sizes on most fish?
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Old 08-26-2020, 10:50 AM
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People will keep just as many fish regardless of size IMO. The attitude of most isn't about getting what they need for dinner it is more about loading the box(es) full and taking a picture for the internet at the end of the day.
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Old 08-26-2020, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fishinmaniac View Post
People will keep just as many fish regardless of size IMO. The attitude of most isn't about getting what they need for dinner it is more about loading the box(es) full and taking a picture for the internet at the end of the day.
The invention of vacuum sealers makes this great. I dont get offshore every weekend and we eat a lot of fish. We dont keep any snapper under 15" on my boat regardless of the 12" min size. When I first saw Yellowtail was 12" total length I thought it was a joke. At least make it to the fork so you can get some meat off them. I dont want any more government, but bigger keeps would make for more fish.
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Old 08-26-2020, 12:19 PM
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you need to talk to a fisheries scientist. Im sure you can look up the data here but that is what is happening with your 12 inch limit. It is a balance between harvest and production that the fisheries scientists are trying to balance (often with incomplete data). This is fisheries biology 101. If you raised the size limit of yellowtail to 36 inches, there would be 0 harvest, production would be high and the stock would rapidly recover. It would essentially be putting a moratorium on yellowtail. If they were to drop the limit to 8 inches, the harvest would increase and production would decrease as many fish would be removed before they were reproductive age. So, the current limit of 12 inches is there so that a certain percentage of fish can get to reproductive age and have a chance to spawn in order to keep production and thus the stocks at a sustainable level, while still allowing people to take home fish.

So, to directly answer your question the answer is yes, by increasing the size limit it would certainly improve the stock. However, every fisherman on the east coast would throw a fit.
Old 08-26-2020, 12:30 PM
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Most species size limit is based on the fish reproducing one time. Yellowtail are mature at 12 inches so that makes sense. However Ive read that mature (big) yellowtails become nocturnal. So maybe start fishing for them at night. Every species has different things going on. Fluke are sexualy mature at 12 inches but in the NE states the size limits are up around 18 inches. I believe that is strictly due to over-fishing. After the stripers move on there isnt much else for a NE fisherman to target.
Old 08-26-2020, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by barrell View Post
Most species size limit is based on the fish reproducing one time. Yellowtail are mature at 12 inches so that makes sense. However Ive read that mature (big) yellowtails become nocturnal. So maybe start fishing for them at night. Every species has different things going on. Fluke are sexualy mature at 12 inches but in the NE states the size limits are up around 18 inches. I believe that is strictly due to over-fishing. After the stripers move on there isnt much else for a NE fisherman to target.

But those 18 inch mins force us to basically only harvest the females. Delaware was 16.5 this year. I had around 30-50 keepers this year. Only four were males. What would happen if you protected those bigger (more eggs) females as opposed to all the male rats.

Would be interesting if more species took the slot style rules like they did with red drum down south.

In the end management is a tough deal. I don't think anyone knows the right answer.
Old 08-26-2020, 02:59 PM
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I just used Yellowtail as an example. But I do know that since they raised the Hogfish from 12 to 16 inches....the hogfish are now normally bigger. I don't see a less amount...only bigger ones. But still....they are few and far between.

Not arguing but I don't understand how raising the size limits would drop the harvesting amounts by rec fishermen? Maybe for a very little while but wouldn't the normal size then be all around bigger without making the stock less plentiful?
Old 08-26-2020, 03:21 PM
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I think raising the minimum size on some fish could be beneficial to some species. Maybe they'd get one more season to spawn?
I've wondered how many more spiny lobster there would be if the minimum carapace size would be upped to 3-1/2" or even 4"
Old 08-26-2020, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by homeby51 View Post
I just used Yellowtail as an example. But I do know that since they raised the Hogfish from 12 to 16 inches....the hogfish are now normally bigger. I don't see a less amount...only bigger ones. But still....they are few and far between.

Not arguing but I don't understand how raising the size limits would drop the harvesting amounts by rec fishermen? Maybe for a very little while but wouldn't the normal size then be all around bigger without making the stock less plentiful?
Maybe, each species/fishery could react differently. I fish in Delaware, so keeping with the flounder example if they would raise the minimum from the current 16.5 up to say 19.5 you would essentially end harvest in the bays from about end of July on. If your a small boat/pontoon guy fishing the bay for flounder your going to have a decent chance for keepers for up until about the end of July. Once we get into August and September the bigger fish are mostly moving out to the ocean and deeper water.
We actually went through this around 2009 when our min size peaked at 19.5. the folks fishing the bay could barely catch and keepers. But caught loads of throwbacks, maybe even increasing dead discarda.

The other reason plays into populations of year classes for a species. Say a fishes average maximum size is 30". The number of fish in that size range from the total population is much smaller then say the numbers of young of the year. As young of the year age that total number will decline naturally with no human predation. The age class with the highest population and the most members to spare will fall somewhere in the middle. It may not necessarily be the best thing to force the pressure onto a size group that is already the smallest of the population.
Again fisheries management is not as straight forward as we would all like.



Old 08-26-2020, 03:56 PM
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They have doubled the size of grouper since I started fishing for them back in the early 70's.....we used to be able to keep 12" fish.

How damn big would they need to be to keep me from getting any?

I've only managed a few 30 inchers over the past five years. Not all of us can run deep into the middlegrounds to fish for the big ones.

I know for a fact that there are a few more boats out there now than when I first started after them...
Old 08-26-2020, 05:21 PM
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Your question sounds simple enough but IMO the answer is quite complex.
I believe the goal is to manage the numbers of each available species so that we can enjoy catching, keeping and eating that species today while at the same time managing the available stocks of that particular species so that out children and grandchildren will be able to catch them tomorrow. Throw into the mix over fishing, water quality issues, illegal fishing and poaching and this is why the FWC employs so very bright biologists to try and stay on top of it.
Old 08-26-2020, 05:42 PM
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Its often times about the commercial fishery regulations. Commercial fisherman in some cases get privileges to keep quantities and sizes of fish that recs cannot, i.e.: 18 inch red grouper caught on long lines. This creates a disparity and animosity between many recreational and commercial fisherman because of disparate privileges. Recs can push for more stringent regulation on their anglers all they want, and it is likely to have no effect on commercial regulations. The commercial industry/lobby is more organized and in some cases grandfathered into local, state, or federal fishing regulations and therefore more likely to hold their ground on regs compared to recs. It boils down to asking recs to further distance the disparity between commercial and recreation regulations. By the way, none of what I said is critical to either side, it is simply stating the complexity of such an issue.
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ptag View Post
Its often times about the commercial fishery regulations. Commercial fisherman in some cases get privileges to keep quantities and sizes of fish that recs cannot, i.e.: 18 inch red grouper caught on long lines. This creates a disparity and animosity between many recreational and commercial fisherman because of disparate privileges. Recs can push for more stringent regulation on their anglers all they want, and it is likely to have no effect on commercial regulations. The commercial industry/lobby is more organized and in some cases grandfathered into local, state, or federal fishing regulations and therefore more likely to hold their ground on regs compared to recs. It boils down to asking recs to further distance the disparity between commercial and recreation regulations. By the way, none of what I said is critical to either side, it is simply stating the complexity of such an issue.
^^^This. Talking about changing any rec limits without first doing away with unsustainable forms of commercial fishing such as long-lining, gill-netting and bottom-dragging is like talking about polishing a you-know-what. To be clear, I'm not knocking commercial fishermen who work hard as heck and largely play by the rules. I'm talking about decisions made on the rules themselves. And of course the 800lb gorilla in the room is what's the point of telling our commercial fishermen not to long line for highly migratory species when other countries aren't being so strict. That said, bottom dragging is habitat destroying. I'm waiting to read a holistic, coherent piece arguing the net benefit of bottom dragging or gill-netting. If anyone has one then I'd love to read it, but I'm not holding my breath.

Last edited by rwp2101; 08-26-2020 at 06:11 PM. Reason: Added more info.
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:10 PM
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I don't trust the government to effectively manage any fish population. They are doing studies on speckled trout here, they are using the same collection points they have been using for 40 years. There is a HUGE problem, most of the places they are using in the study are now either changed due to erosion from the Mississippi river being at record high levels for the past several years or are now freshwater areas from the Mississippi river at record high levels for several years. Fishermen know trout are not where they use to be so they are fishing different areas. Well, WLF is not going to those new areas to do collections or interview fisherman who are catching speckled trout!!! Everyone that isn't the government agrees that the purse seining 100 yards off the coast by foreign companies is way more damaging to the fisheries than recreational fishermen taking legal fish. Not only do they get by catch of game species they are eliminating huge schools of bait fish that game species feed on. I am much more in favor of a slot system than increasing the minimum size. Let the big girls go to make some more big fish. Get the little guys out of rotation.
Old 08-27-2020, 07:17 AM
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dolphin
make a min size for the gulf
22 inch min for everyone (recent data shows females are 20-21 inches when they are mature)
22 fish limit per boat
Old 08-27-2020, 07:24 AM
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I'm a sport fisherman first and if I can take a fish or two home for dinner, great, so I'd rather have stringent laws about what you can keep - more fish to catch! So to WPBTH's point above, I'd rather see a 24" min size of dolphin and a cap at 2 per person. In my mind, every little bit counts. But I know a lot of people are just out to hang fish at the dock, so to each their own, I suppose.
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Old 08-27-2020, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ameristrat View Post
I'm a sport fisherman first and if I can take a fish or two home for dinner, great, so I'd rather have stringent laws about what you can keep - more fish to catch! So to WPBTH's point above, I'd rather see a 24" min size of dolphin and a cap at 2 per person. In my mind, every little bit counts. But I know a lot of people are just out to hang fish at the dock, so to each their own, I suppose.
limit it to 2 and the catch all goes to the commercial sector, you dont want that. I know people are tired of seeing 50, 21inch dolphin on some of these charter boats social media. The blackfin limits are a result of social media. The amounts and sizes posted to social media brought focus to it. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Old 08-27-2020, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by homeby51 View Post
I just used Yellowtail as an example. But I do know that since they raised the Hogfish from 12 to 16 inches....the hogfish are now normally bigger. I don't see a less amount...only bigger ones. But still....they are few and far between.

Not arguing but I don't understand how raising the size limits would drop the harvesting amounts by rec fishermen? Maybe for a very little while but wouldn't the normal size then be all around bigger without making the stock less plentiful?
I dont think the intent is for us to catch less its to increase spawning numbers.
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Old 08-27-2020, 02:01 PM
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I thought dolphin were such prolific at spawning that fishing pretty much doesn't impact their stock at all?

Their population is limited by the amount of food available.
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Old 08-27-2020, 02:09 PM
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How many o you that think raising the minimum size on dolphin is a great idea would favor a slot limit. Let’s say 28” on the upper side. That’s gonna save the big gals that really produce eggs. You up for never keeping another 8lb or above dolphin in your life? The large fish are much more prolific breeders than smaller fish. One 20lb dolphin produces way more eggs than 10 2lb ones. That’s why there’s slot limits on reds, trout, and snook. I suspect most of you don’t are about the fish as much as you say..........

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