FWC Citations for Red Drum, Snook, and Seatrout

On February 19, 2020, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission enacted Executive Order No. EO 20-05, entitled “Temporary Modification of Regulations for Red Drum, Snook, and Spotted Seatrout in Southwest Florida.” The order remains in effect from June 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021.

So if you catch a spotted seatrout, snook, or red drum, in Southwest Florida, you better release it quickly. An exception exists for temporarily possess a spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulous), snook (Centropomus spp.), or red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) for the purpose of photographing, measuring, or weighing (with a handheld scale) the fish, but only if the possession if temporary and then the person releases the fish “alive and unharmed in the immediate area where it was caught, immediately after it has been photographed, measured, or weighed.”

Although the order doesn’t explain it, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have begun issuing Level II resource citations for these violations. Most people are shocked to learn that the violation is charged as a second degree misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $500 plus court cost and/or up to 60 days in jail

The order was created “due to the late-2017 through early 2019 prolonged natural red tide event in southwest Florida that caused widespread mortality of saltwater fish.”

The order temporarily modifies the red drum, snook, and spotted seatrout fisheries to be catch-and-release only within specified waters of southwest Florida. Under the order, a person must immediately release any red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus ), snook ( Centropomus spp. ), or spotted seatrout ( Cynoscion nebulosus) caught in any part of Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, or Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee counties (and parts of Collier County).

The order also requires the person to “not possess or land a red drum, a snook, or a spotted seatrout in the described region.”

Executive Order (EO) 20-06 prohibits the recreational harvest of gray triggerfish in Gulf of Mexico federal waters for the remainder of the 2020 season. During that time, the recreational harvest and possession of gray triggerfish in or on state waters of the Gulf of Mexico or landing from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico shall be prohibited during that time.

Executive Order (EO) 20-30 prohibits harvesting or possessing blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico federal waters through the end of 2020. This order is in “response to harvest projections indicating the 2020 recreational landings limit for blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish has been exceeded for 2020….”

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients charged with violations of executive orders issued by Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) of the State of Florida related to fishing and hunting.

The attorneys represent clients charged with a wide variety of resource citations issued by FWC in Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, in Brooksville in Hernando County, in New Port Richey in Dade City in Pasco County, in Bradenton in Manatee County, and in Bartow in Polk County, FL.

Call 813-250-0500 to see how we can fight the case with the goal of getting any criminal charge dismissed.

This article was last updated on September 11, 2020.