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Outdoors

Know your limits

By RODNEY PAGE, TERRY TOMALIN
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 7, 2003

Restrictions on some popular fish in Tampa Bay can be confusing, but the Tampa Bay Estuary Program has something that might help. It has come out with the Tampa Bay Ethical Angler wallet card, which has illustrations of 12 species most commonly caught in Tampa Bay.

The free card has information about bag limits, seasonal closures and other harvest restrictions for fish such as Spanish mackerel, sea trout, redfish, snook and sheepshead. The card folds up into the size of a credit card so it can be stashed in a wallet, shirt pocket or tackle box.

The card can be obtained by calling (727) 893-2765 or e-mailing nanette@tbep.org. The card also can be downloaded at www.tbep.org.

Trout regulations

A reminder that spotted sea trout are off-limits this month from Fred Howard Park in north Pinellas County to the Florida-Georgia border. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission established the closed season to protect the sea trout during cold weather, when it is most vulnerable while seeking warmer water in creeks, sloughs and rivers.

The season remains open in waters south of Fred Howard Park. The closed season for sea trout in this region is November and December. During open season in the south region, anglers may keep four fish per day between 15 and 20 inches and one fish bigger than 20 inches.

Kayak symposium

Sea kayakers from around the world will gather in St. Petersburg this month for the seventh annual Florida Gulf Coast Sea Kayak Symposium. The event, Feb. 21-23, features lectures and on-the-water instruction.

British Canoe Union courses will be offered during the week leading up to the event.

Call (727) 570-4844, stop by Sweetwater Kayaks at 10000 Gandy Blvd. N, St. Petersburg, or visit www.sweetwaterkayaks.com.

Lobster season

State officials have scheduled a public hearing on proposed regulations that might change the daily bag limit during spiny lobster season. If approved, the bag limit in Biscayne National Park during the Sportsman Season would be cut from 12 to six per day.

The regulations would change the rule allowing a daily recreational bag limit of six lobsters per person or 24 lobsters per boat, whichever is greater, during the regular season to six lobsters per person per day.

Another new rule would prohibit artificial materials (casitas) to commercially harvest lobsters.

The hearing will be 6-8 p.m. Feb. 17 on the fifth floor of the Pinellas County Courthouse, B.C.C. Assembly Room, 315 Court St., Clearwater.

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