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Bonefish, Tarpon Get Special Protection This Fall

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Beginning this September, there are some new rules anglers will have to be aware of when they are stalking bonefish on the flats or casting for tarpon off the coast.

As of September first, both bonefish and tarpon will be become catch-and-release only.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the catch-and-release proposal, which was approved last June, was needed because the economic and fishing values of bonefish and tarpon greatly exceed their value as food.

When the new law goes into effect, possession of a single tarpon will be allowed in state and federal waters off Florida only when in pursuit of an International Game Fish Association record. Tarpon 40 inches or more must stay in the water at all times. FWC staff determined that larger fish are harmed if withdrawn from the supporting waters.

Officials have also eliminated the bonefish tournament exemption, which allowed tournament anglers to transport bonefish to a tournament scale.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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