Florida has unanimously approved a proposal to make tarpon a catch and release only fish, making it the first American state to implement such a policy.

The move, which comes into effect on September 1st 2013, means that the taking of any tarpon is banned, with the exception of keeping a single fish when in pursuit of an IGFA record and in conjunction with a tarpon tag.

Anglers will be limited to one $50 tag per person, per year. Anglers can photograph and weigh tarpon, but fish over 40cm must remain in the water and must be released near the site of capture.

Catch and release rules are also being applied to bonefish.

The moves are a recognition of the value of both species as important sports fish.

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