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Keep On Snuffing

Keep On Snuffing
Keep On Snuffing

It may be comforting to know that our state legislators are home lying in their summer hammocks.


Beware, however. They'll be getting up.

A few of them, in fact, already are plotting how they might undermine fish and wildlife reforms under the guise of streamlining.

And although next spring's legislative session may seem to offer a breathing spell for now, the backroom talk and committee maneuvering is coming fast.

Pay attention, we'd suggest, and support fishing advocates and those legislators who are tuned into general public interests rather than personal profits of a few.

Commercial netters working with a handful of lawmakers with mixed motives have two basic goals:

One is to remove the Net Ban amendment from the state constitution and make it a simple statute. Once there, it could be changed from year to year, often under the influence of market-driven lobbyists.

Two is to abolish the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which was created by constitutional amendment to break away from the cheap politics that caused so much over-exploitation in the first place.

Veteran anglers who saw our fish populations pillaged by gill nets and other overfishing see the folly of these proposals.

And yet, as new folks come onto the scene, confronted by smooth talk and meaningless generalities, the dangers emerge each year sure as the new seasons.

Fortunately, the coming of annual legislative sessions is not quite so scary these years, we like to think, because recreational fishing interests are well represented.

This year, the above-mentioned proposals won some committee support, but were thereafter snuffed out.

More snuffing is badly needed, we think, for a bizarre plan to shut family fishing out of the west half of the Tortugas National Park.

As covered previously, here is probably Florida's very best fishing area. It's an angler's heaven, with zero problems. Very little pressure.

So close it to all?

The nonsensical plan was hatched by a handful of biologists basing their strange conclusions on sketchy research done mainly in areas outside the park.

They're getting away with imposing the 47-square-mile No Fishing Zone only because this utopia is 70 miles west of Key West. Actually, that should be all the more reason to leave it alone. But the light pressure makes it easier, sadly, to lock us out.

There is still hope against hope, as they say, that the Florida Cabinet or possibly the FWC will defer indefinitely the closure.

Your protests could make the difference.

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