The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted Jun 28 to keep the recreational harvest of snook in Gulf of Mexico waters closed for another year.
The ban extends a snook protection installed after a 2010 cold kill, which left frozen snook all around Gasparilla Island..
Snook populations are improving in the Atlantic and are not in biological jeopardy in the Gulf, according to the FWC. The next assessment is due in 2015.
"If we have a bad winter this year, we will benefit from this caution; if we don't have a bad winter, we will let all these breeding fish come through the slot," said Vice Chairman Kenneth Wright.
The snook slot limit is 28 to 33 inches in Gulf of Mexico waters.
The species tends to inhabit shallower, near-shore state waters. The Gulf of Mexico recreational season now is expected to reopen Sept. 1, 2013. Catch-and-release of snook will be allowed during the closure.
There is no commercial harvest for snook in Florida.