Tarpon, often referred to as the silver king of game fish, could become a catch-and-release-only fishery if new rules under consideration by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are adopted. But first, state officials must establish what constitutes a "game fish."
Florida has game fish rules for several species of freshwater fish, including largemouth bass, but no similar designation for saltwater species. In most states, game fish status means no commercial sale or harvest.
But Florida officials are thinking about having two levels of protection for several recreationally important species: "game fish" and "sport fish." Sport fish status would offer a higher level of protection, and that may include making those species in question catch and release.
The subject of game fish and/or sport fish (the two terms are often used interchangeably) has come up several times in recent years in regard to bonefish, permit and snook.