Stand Up for Your Fishing

Yeah, the politics of fisheries can be a drag, and not the kind of drag that makes sweet singing from your trusty fishing reel.

But both types of drags are closely related, we suggest. Your success on the water in 2014 may well be linked to what happens in sterile offices and hearing rooms.

Best pay attention. Speak up. The unfortunate fact is that the decision-makers affecting your angling usually don’t hear much from the typical citizen.

They do, however, hear plenty from special interests and from sometimes illinformed sources that can include bureaucrats miles from the nearest water.

Anglers who fish for personal use—like Idalberto Delgado Jr. and Sr., on the Dania Pier—are often underrepresented in fisheries decisions. Photo by FS Editor Jeff Weakley, who was in Dania taking notes for future articles.

Our thoughts on some of the issues: No Fishing Zones: A small number of so-called researchers continue to ram through total no-take zones, like a new, little-noticed 46-square-mile lockout in the Tortugas. Instead of allowing limited family-level fishing in this arguably best-of-all areas, as in the companion Everglades National Park, federal Sanctuary folks (ratified by naïve state officials) shoo away the few who enjoy these great areas on a personal-use basis.

Still more of the zones are planned for the Keys. You can stop them.

Species Closures: Here again, we find conflicted or easyroaders shutting down entire species, such as red snapper, using largely discredited data. You might help foster a position that
limited personal-use fishing, year around, must be maintained before any draconian closures are imposed.

Meantime, the public runs second to self-interests dominating management.

Allocation: So who gets the fish? As said, if stocks are overly pressured, is it too much to suggest that every citizen be treated equally? No exceptions. The rules against commercial exploitation already are the norm all through the nation’s freshwaters and woods. Let’s apply them to more marine species.

Habitat: That’s a fancy term for the outdoors that becomes more and more important as human populations bulge and a variety of pollutants abound. We should especially curtail excesses of phosphorous and nitrogen, mostly running off from large-scale agriculture. Deadly levels of nutrients snuff out many more bag limits
than humans could ever affect.

There are dozens of other subjects that pop up like at your favorite Whack-a-Mole, so we hope you’ll keep up, and stand up.

And then, let the watery drag sing on.

Karl Wickstrom