University of Florida

Why Catch and Release?

A fish is too valuable to catch only once!

Catch and release fishing has proven to be a valuable conservation tool, but the effectiveness is diminished if fish do not survive after being released. By adopting just a few simple habits, recreational anglers can increase the chances that the fish they catch and release will survive.

Redfish Being Released

This redfish, though legal size, is returned to the water after being "tagged" for a research study [FSG Photo].

Recreational saltwater fishing has a significant impact on Florida’s economy.  In 2004, Florida’s saltwater anglers spent nearly $8 billion, which in turn generated over $7 billion in total economic activity, supporting over 100,000 jobs and $4.3 billion in tax revenues and income.

Fisheries managers have also seen a dramatic increase in fishing effort over the last decade.  The problem of too many fishermen competing for too few fish has necessitated an increase in regulatory measures such as size restrictions, bag limits, and restricted seasons to conserve and sustain fisheries stocks.  However, these strategies only succeed if a fish released after hook-and-line capture survives.

The future of Florida's high quality sport fishing depends upon recreational fishermen choosing to practice catch and release to prevent overfishing and ensure fish populations remain sustainable for future generations.

Use the information on this website to help you learn about catch-and-release tools, techniques and regulations.

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