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New Fishing Rules On Snook And Redfish Due To Red Tide

Dead fish on the shore of a beach.
Stephen Splane / WUSF Public Media
The Florida Channel
Red tide left behind thousands of dead fish at Reddington Beach a few weeks ago.

Florida wildlife officials have decided to change fishing rules for snook and redfish through 2019 due to widespread toxic red tide algae in the Gulf of Mexico.

During its meeting Wednesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission expanded a catch-and-release order for snook and redfish to include all of Pinellas and Pasco counties, and Tampa Bay. Other parts of the Gulf Coast were already under restricted fishing orders.

It's an attempt to protect the stock, which has been hit hard by red tide.

This order is good through May 10, 2019.

Fish kills have been widespread for months due to red tide.

The commission also ordered the bay scallop season in waters off Gulf County, to be closed four days early, on Tuesday, due to red tide.