It’s Celebration Time

Lighten up, anglers. In fact, cheer a bit. Enjoy a major victory. Savor it. We’ve reached and surpassed a milestone recovery goal for seagrasses in Florida’s huge Tampa Bay.

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The “Cleaner Than Rain” Hoax

Over and over, we swallow the same old line. “Our Everglades water is cleaner than rain water.” That’s the claim not only from the sugar cane industry but from the government water managers who are Big Sugar’s best buddies. The cleaner-than-rain refrain sounds good. People tend not to question it.


Point Them Fingers

Here’s a somewhat common refrain we hear from well-meaning citizens: “Let’s stop the finger pointing and all work together…” At that point there come a few murmurs of agreement. Can’t we all sit down in a big room and work out our differences? After all, we’re responsible adults.

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More Bull Sugar Ahead?

I really hope I’m dead wrong on this. It would be so much more fun for the communities to keep pretending that great things are coming for the estuaries and Everglades. But the sad truth, I’m afraid, is that we’re going to get much more of the pollution and killing waters from inland that have devastated us over a half century. Some call it Bull Sugar.

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Support Flowway Now…Pretty Please

With the million-dollar sugar babies still running the show, it may seem impossible to stop the polluting discharges bombarding the coasts and sucking dry the Everglades. And yet there seems to be a sense of momentum for change in the air.

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Jax to Ft. Pierce Sanctuary Proposal Rejected

My day had started with very good news. Just as I sat down to write a go-to-war column warning of still another immense marine sanctuary being proposed, word came in that the plan was rejected. Awright!

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Sportsmen: The Outdoors Thanks You

Sure, we’ve crabbed an awful lot about outdoors management failures over a half century. But let’s also remember the victories, and take note of an ever-growing conservation mindset. You most likely have taken part in the move to manage wildlife for sustainable use and basically non-profit purposes. Many wildlife leaders have joined this newthink.


Let’s End the Sad Tragedy

Buried deep in the heart of a 75-page federal court order was a statement we should display from the roof tops. Quote it early, quote it often. Somehow, we all missed it.

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Too Valuable to Sell

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.


Skipping the Age Perk

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.

New exchanges of tidal flows could liven up many inshore waters such as at Little Mud Creek north of Jensen Beach.

Let the Waters In

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.

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On Go the Giveways

“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.”

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Beware of that Sample

My son’s shiny new pickup (new in 1965) came with a surprise. It backfires. Backfires aren’t so common these days, and this one was easily fixed. But I fear we may face another kind of backfire, in fisheries management.

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Aussies Make Good Reverse Play

The very good but unheralded news out there is that the fishing world has some- how dodged a no-fishing bullet of possibly immense consequences.

A typical gill net haul of Spanish mackerel in the 1980's.

Net Ban – Dented But Fixable

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.

Visitor map detail of Biscayne National Park. Coming soon: New fishing regulations and, possibly, boating permits.

Good News, but*

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.