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Appeal Court Reinstates Net Ban To End Spurt of Entangling Catches

Taken earlier this week by Shawn Dixon at the Arlington Boat Ramp in Jacksonville, FL.

After a short but scary re-opening of gillnetting in Florida waters, an appeal court Wednesday lifted a lower court’s ruling that had let entanglement gear be used once again following an 18-year ban.

The order from the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee shuts down the gill netting while the court considers the claims by netters during the life of the pending lawsuit by netting interests. Bottom line: Gill nets, no.

The allegations from netters are similar to past attempts to overturn the net ban, but this time Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford not only sided with the commercial interests but refused to “stay” her order during the state’s appeal to the District Court.

Cover of the March 1992 issue, as part of the years-long campaign that resulted in the net ban.

Judge Fulford’s order declaring that the net ban was unfair and contradictory had opened a floodgate of large net catches just as the mullet roe season moved into high gear. The roe is sold to foreign markets at prices far higher than is paid for the mullet meat itself. Some netters told of making thousands of dollars in a single night’s circling of the egg-laden fish.

Another main target in the days-old gillnetting has been pompano, a prized species that has come back strong since the gill net prohibition which was adopted by 72 per cent of the voters in November 1994, effective July 1, 1995. Ironically, a number of commercial hook-and-line fishermen have expressed support for the prohibition of entanglement gear which was considered the cause of much overfishing and indiscriminate mortality.

  • Dave Eicher

    Great News !!!

  • devius1

    excellent :)
    we love our turtles , manatees and fish

  • Snook Snatcher

    Never Caught a turtle or a manatee in a net. I have watched recreational boaters and sport fishermen kill more than a dozen personally. I have watched as tourists chase down dolphins and throw everything in the boat or on shore at them to try and get their attention. I have fed my family with a net, taught each and every child I have to make nets and fish with nets and been asked by local government officials to tell them “the same government officials” the stories of how my great grandfather fed the local population during the great depression. I was asked early on in the greatest economic crash since the great depression 2008 if I still had the old nets and if I would use them to catch food for the people of the community if things got really bad when there was so much uncertainty early on in this crisis, I just laughed and told them all where to go buy fish (Publix) but when or if that was closed they would be on their own. I have watched the Japanese catch and take to Japan millions of pounds of fish from the Gulf with zero regard for us law abiding Americans.

  • Snook Snatcher

    Where is my comment Florida Sportsman? I have bought your magazine for years and the first time I make a comment on a story you delete it? Well post it or lose a customer, in fact lose generations of customers. Don’t believe me just ask olive garden they treated me unfair one time and rather than spending ten to twenty grand a year (depending on the year) with them from my family my employees and myself they get nothing. It has cost them well over $100,000.00 by now!

    • FS Chris

      Snook Snatcher, we have not deleted your comment. These comments sections are for debate. Sometimes the comments need approval or take some time to post. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Crumb

    SNOOK SNATCHER: I love your ramblings, keep them coming! The Olive Garden comment was priceless! Definitely a great laugh!
    Btw, which Japaneese fishing vessel was fishing US waters in the Gulf? Would love to here more of these stories, keep them coming.