February 13, 2014
Swordfish management is a success story. Overfished in the 1980s and ’90s, the swordfish stock has since been fully rebuilt, thanks to domestic and international conservation measures.
Recently, NOAA Fisheries Highly Migratory Species Division created a new open-access commercial swordfish fishery in federal waters to provide additional commercial swordfish harvest opportunities using gears that minimize bycatch.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several changes to state rules recently, many of which will allow fishermen who participate in this new commercial fishery to land and sell their catch in Florida. Recently adopted changes will go into effect Feb. 13.
Several changes to state rules are also consistent with existing federal rules, including a change to the cleithrum-to-keel (see image below) minimum size limit for recreational and commercial swordfish harvest.