We asked, you answered.
The first Florida Sportsman Panel survey on conservation and environmental issues in the state completed on March 29, 2018. Two-hundred and seventy-five respondents answered the 16 questions, yielding some surprising and informative results about what’s on anglers and hunters minds in the state of Florida.
First, a few insights into the respondents. More than 50 percent of respondents have been fishing in Florida for more than 25 years. Another 21 percent have fished in Florida for 15-24 years. So almost three-quarters of respondents have substantial experience with Florida fisheries.
They’re also a group that travels frequently in Florida. A third of respondents traveled out of their county to fish, shellfish or spearfish more than 10 times a year, and 56 percent traveled out of their counties between one and 10 times a year to fish, shellfish or spearfish. Only 10 percent of respondents did not travel out of their county to pursue any of these sports.
Unfortunately, more than half—53 percent—of respondents answered that they felt the quality of inshore fishing was on the decline in Florida. Fourteen percent felt that it was improving. When it came to offshore fishing, 44 percent felt that the quality of the fishing was declining, followed by 41 percent who felt it was staying the same.
The three environmental issues of greatest concern to respondents were Lake Okeechobee discharges to the coasts (53 percent), agricultural runoff (36 percent) and nearshore water quality (33 percent). The single issue of greatest concern to most anglers (30 percent) were discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
Almost two-thirds of respondents (61 percent) believed that human activities, such as fossil fuel burning, release carbon dioxide or other emissions that contribute to climate change, and many respondents have changed their behaviors because of this belief. More than 68 percent have installed energy-efficient features in their homes as a response.
To join the Florida Sportsman Panel and be a part of the next survey, click here.