new size limit for amberjack is approved
Offshore anglers will have a new size limit for amberjack when the season reopens Aug. 1. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved new rules this week. Amberjack, known for their belly-bruising fighting ability, must now measure 34 inches fork length. State-water regulations in the Gulf will now be consistent with pending federal regulations. Stock assessments show greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico are overfished. Officials hope that the minimum size limit will mean more amberjack will reproduce before being harvested.
With scallop season opening this weekend, boaters should watch for "diver-down" flags. Divers and snorkelers have the option of displaying a buoy with a series of divers-down symbols (red field with a white, diagonal line) instead of the traditional divers-down flag. The buoy can be three- or four-sided and must have a divers-down symbol of at least 12 by 12 inches on each of the flat sides. Divers-down symbols displayed onboard a boat must still be a flag at least 20 by 24 inches and displayed at a high point where it is visible from any direction. Divers may still use a divers-down flag of at least 12 by 12 inches on a float when towed with them while in the water. Divers should stay within the required distance of their flag or buoy — 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets and channels. Boat operators should stay at least the same distances away from any divers-down flag or buoy.
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