Fishing News January 2023


Harvest of Red Grouper and Lane Snapper
Harvest of red grouper and lane snapper reopened in Gulf state waters on Jan. 1, 2023, after early season closures. The Florida Wildlife Commission is collecting critical recreational harvest fishing data to inform management of popular reef fish, including red grouper. The State Reef Fish Survey provides the FWC with a clearer picture of stock health. So, please make sure you are signed up as a State Reef Fish Angler. This designation is required for recreational anglers and spearfishers who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish species from a private vessel in Florida. To learn more about the State Reef Fish Survey, visit

Tired of Your Boat? FWC Can Help
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is now accepting applications for a recently approved and newly created Vessel Turn-In Program, a key component of Florida’s derelict vessel prevention program.

VTIP is a voluntary program designed to help owners dispose of their unwanted at-risk vessels before they become derelict. Upon approval of an application, VTIP will take a surrendered vessel and dispose of it at no cost to the boat owner. Removing the vessel before it deteriorates into a derelict condition will prevent legal ramifications for the vessel owner and will protect Florida’s valuable seagrass resources, marine life and human life, safety, and property.

A derelict vessel upon waters of the state is a criminal offense and can carry serious penalties and fines or possible jail time.

To qualify for VTIP, a vessel must be floating upon waters of the state of Florida and cannot be determined derelict by law enforcement. The owner must have at least one written at-risk warning or citation and possess a clear title to the vessel.

To apply for or view program guidelines, call the FWC Boating and Waterways Division at (850) 488-5600 for more information.