FWC approves spiny lobster commercial bully net fishery changes

At its February meeting in Crystal River, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several changes to the spiny lobster bully net fishery, including directing staff to launch a “Respectful Bully Netting” outreach campaign.

The FWC has received input from stakeholders about the increasing participation in the commercial bully net lobster fishery, and these changes will help address some of those concerns.

Changes to the commercial fishery effective May 1 will include:

  • Creating an open-access commercial bully net lobster endorsement available to commercial fishers who hold a crawfish endorsement.
  • Requiring commercial bully net vessels be marked with the harvester’s bully net endorsement number using reflective paint or other reflective material.
  • Prohibiting trap pullers on commercial bully net vessels.
  • Prohibiting the simultaneous possession of a bully net and any underwater breathing apparatus (not including dive masks or snorkels) aboard a vessel used to harvest or transport lobster for commercial purposes.
  • Updating the definition of “commercial harvester” to include the bully net endorsement.

For information on commercial spiny lobster fishery regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Commercial” and “Lobster.”

For more information on the presentation given to the Commission, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings,” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”