FWC approves Gulf snapper season, encourages boaters to take a class this week

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SUBMITTED BY THE FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a 70-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf state waters at their April 16 meeting in Tallahassee.
Red snapper is a popular species that has a strong economic impact for many coastal communities throughout Florida. The 2015 season will start the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 23) and run through July 12, resume for all of Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5-7) and finish with Saturdays and Sundays throughout the rest of September and all of October, with the last day of harvest being Sunday, Nov. 1.
The 2015 Gulf federal waters recreational red snapper season has not been set yet and will be announced later this spring by NOAA Fisheries.
For more information, visit MyFWC.com/About and click on “The Commission” and “Commission Meetings.” For information on Gulf red snapper, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Snapper.”
In other FWC news, from April 20-26 the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators encourage boaters to “Spring Aboard” by enrolling in a boating education course.
Working in partnership with the states, some providers are offering discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. It is a unified effort to remind boaters to prepare for boating season.
“An informed and knowledgeable boat operator is more likely to recognize hazardous conditions on the water and avoid a boating mishap,” said NASBLA President Eleanor Mariani. “Classroom courses are offered through local boating safety organizations, such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons. Online courses are also available and provide state-specific information. Completion increases your chances for having fun on the water.”
Florida law requires completion of an approved course, verified by NASBLA as meeting the national boating education standard, for individuals born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, who operate a motorboat of 10 horsepower or greater.
“Florida’s boating accident statistics indicate that 70 to 80 percent of vessel operators involved in fatal accidents never completed a formal boating education,” said FWC Capt. Tom Shipp. “We’re hoping to decrease those numbers across the board.”
For a summary of Florida’s available courses, please visit: http://myfwc.com/boating/safety-education/courses/