It’s been a dangerous period for one of Florida’s most important fishes, the spotted seatrout, commonly just called trout. First, the state virtually doubled the commercial take of trout and came within a whisker of allowing seine nets back in the fishery. And then a rural north Florida judge attempted to upset the historic Gillnet Ban, which would have clobbered trout by the ton.
When I entered my so-called Golden Age, very reluctantly, I figured that at least there would be one nice perk. No fishing license needed from then on. But some perks should end, and the age-65 fishing license exemption is one free ride that we can drop, voluntarily.
Leadeth me, please, not to the still waters of Psalms fame but to moving waters, where fish usually hang out. Most of us, I’m afraid, tend to seek out flat calm areas and shiny shorelines because they just look fishy, and it’s good to get out of whatever wind may be huffing.
“They sugar coat even the name: Limited Entry. A better name would be Limited Vision. Even more accurate: Unlimited Giveaway. “By whatever title, the idea is to hand over fishing rights to a select few commercial fishers. These are the same fishers, by the way, who decimated stocks in the first place.”
Like getting rear-ended out of nowhere, the fishing community has been hit with the unthinkable. Florida’s historic net ban, considered the most important fisheries reform ever, suddenly was struck down by a rural judge friendly to a few commercial interests. Whack.
Keep that asterisk handy, though there seem to be at least two happy developments in the government’s ever- lasting deliberations about new fisheries regulations for Biscayne National Park. First, that 10,000-acre total-no-take zone proposed for Park waters east of Miami has been deep sixed, probably for good.
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.
Our Openers column must have been lost in the mail—from seven years ago. But, no, it did run in August 2006 and seems eerily applicable to today. Also applicable today is government’s continuing failure to address the main estuary and Everglades crises.
Waytogo, you Georgia Bulldogs! Your new victory floods us with good memories. And your success inspires us to keep on swinging. Of course, it took you 24 more years to do it. But still, your recent taking redfish off the commercial market there is commendatory.
You wouldn’t think for a second of wanting to see a private industry plopped down in the middle of a beloved public park. Give over priceless property that we all own together to a few?
“Locally, it’s our most important bottom fish now, and the only months we’re allowed to take them is when they aren’t there.” Good one, Rick. The conundrum is about black sea bass, the latest recreational fishery closed by federal forces on the basis, we think, of clearly erroneous data and misguided principles.
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