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FB69 Bass Stocks Formatted

FB69 Bass Stocks Formatted

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Published by Bob Wattendorf
This Fish Busters Bulletin describes how, why and where freshwater fish may be caught and released, and describes bass conservation units in Florida.
This Fish Busters Bulletin describes how, why and where freshwater fish may be caught and released, and describes bass conservation units in Florida.

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Published by: Bob Wattendorf on Aug 29, 2011
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01/06/2013

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Florida Fish Busters
’ Bulletin
 September 2011
Beware moving fish
 —
even native bass
By Bob Wattendorf How often have you caught a great fish andwished you could release it somewhere special foryou or a friend to catch again? Catch-and-release hascaught on, especially among bass anglers, butsometimes the
release isn’t immediate.
There aretimes when it is not good for the resource to releasethe fish; paticularly when the fish is relocated to adifferent lake or river.Catch-photograph-release (CPR) is a greatway to collect memories. The big thing to remember is if you are going to release afish--do it legally and do your best to ensure the fish will survive to thrive. Properhandling means keeping the fish out of the water as short a time as possible
 — 
consider holding your own breath while the fish is out of the water as a gauge. If thefish is going in a live well, remember to exchange the water frequently and keep itcool.With that said, when and where should you release your catch? First, if thelaw requires a freshwater fish to be released in Florida, it should be done as quicklyand effectively as possible, but taking the necessary measurements or a photo is
Richard Moore properly releasing anice largemouth bass.
 
permitted. It should be released in the immediate vicinity to where it was caughtwithout placing it in a livewell or stressing it.When a native fish is legal to take, it is your discretion whether you harvestit or release it. Generally speaking, size and creel limits have been established sothat harvesting these fish will still allow sustaining the fish population based onnatural reproduction, mortality rates, growth rates, and habitat capacity. In certaincircumstances, such as where slot limits are specified, it is especially helpful toremove the smaller fish (below the slot). In theory, reducing the numbers of smallfish reduces competition, which allows the protected fish in the slot (for instance 15inches to 24 inches) to grow more quickly.Non-native fishes (other than peacock bass and triploid grass carp) should beharvested. Most make good eating, and the best way to transport them is on ice.They should not be released and definitely should not be relocated.Legally taken fish should be released as close as possible to where they arecaught, but certainly within the same water system. Rules went into effectspecifically for relocating largemouth bass in July 2010 that affect anglersrelocating bass as well as those purchasing and stocking bass in private ponds.Rule 68-5.002 (see FLrules.org) states that northern black bass (
Micropterussalmoides salmoides
) is a conditional non-native species. Possession, importationinto Florida, sale or transportation of any live specimens or eggs of this species of black bass is prohibited except by special permit from the FWC. Hybrids of thenorthern black bass and Florida subspecies (
M. s. floridanus
) are legal to possess inthe Suwannee River and its tributaries and north and west of the Suwannee River.
 
The reason for the rule is to protect genetically pure Florida-strainlargemouth bass, also called Florida largemouth bass. This subspecies of largemouth bass is native only to Peninsular Florida (south and east of the
Suwannee River), and is the cornerstone of the state’s annual billion dollar black
bass fishing industry.Under this rule, only aquaculturists,or fish farmers, whose fish have beengenetically tested and authenticated aspure Florida largemouth bass by the FWCare allowed to possess or sell bass tocustomers for stocking south and east of the Suwannee River. There are two suchfish farms (Florida Fish Farms Inc.: 352-793-4224, and Shongaloo Fisheries: 352-468-1251) currently registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture andConsumer Services (FDACS) and authorized to sell authenticated pure Floridalargemouth bass.Largemouth bass produced out-of-state must be tested using proceduresapproved by the FWC before they can be brought into peninsular Florida.Intergrade or hybrid largemouth bass may only be transported into the Floridapanhandle for stocking in private waters west and north of the Suwannee River.
Thus, “g
orilla bass
and
“t
iger bass,
which are hybrid largemouth bass, cannot bestocked south and east of the Suwannee River. The same guidance applies to
FWC haul boxes are used to deliver healthy basswith the "right" genetics to public waters.

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