Florida's commercial fishermen will have more fishing opportunities after changes were made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at Wednesday's meeting.
Management changes will be made to the king mackerel harvest in southern Florida and the oyster harvest in Apalachicola Bay.
Commercial king mackerel fishers harvesting from waters off Monroe County will be able to land and sell their harvest in Collier County from April 1 to July 1. The FWC said the move was needed because commercial fisherman can't land their catch in Collier County because the season usually closes before April.
When the waters off Collier County are closed, commercial fishermen harvesting from Monroe County waters experience economic hardships because they must travel farther to sell fish. The change will allow these fishermen to travel a shorter distance to sell their catch.
The Commissioners also approved a measure that will allow the harvest of oysters for seven days a week in Apalachicola Bay. Previously, harvest was not allowed Fridays and Saturdays June 1 through Aug. 31 and Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 1 through Nov. 15.
The measure will go into effect June 1. This increased harvesting opportunity comes in response to management changes in 2010 by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that require harvesters to deliver oysters by a specified time of day during the warmer months of the year. The seven-day work week will allow Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesters the ability to make up for time lost in harvesting because of the new earlier delivery times.