August 01, 2013
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.
It really does seem like yesterday when Florida took the for-sale sign off redfish, in January
1989. That historic de-commercialization sparked growth of an incredibly large and valuable
fishery for the general public.
In an Openers column headed “Enjoy Sportfishing's Greatest Victory,” we applauded Floridians with these words:
“Go ahead, take a bow, all ye sportsmen.
“Settle back and enjoy. Imagine deafening applause, cheers and whistles echoing through the capitol as the Florida Cabinet approves gamefish status for redfish.
“That was the astounding scene. It was a watershed victory for sportfishing conservation, to be re-played and savored as a magnificent symbol of achievements possible when dedicated people unite against exploiters targeting public wildlife for their own sweet, private profits.
“What a truly great accomplishment!
“Never before has the full force of the powerful commercial fishing industry been met on its own turf of influence, Tallahassee, and been thoroughly out-represented, out-lobbied and plainly beaten.
“While in past years it was pulling hen's teeth to get a relative handful of anglers onto the field of battle, recreational interests this time overflowed the Cabinet auditorium and packed outside hallways, watching TV monitors.”
Later in the column we said:
“A sad note is that success took nearly four years after the push for gamefish status began. It was a concept not even listed as a possible option under the original Marine Fisheries Commission,
beset as it was with occupational conflicts of interest and sale-happy mindsets.”
Well, four years doesn't sound like so long now, especially compared to Georgia's 24. And we may note that it was another four years after the redfish change till Floridians voted to outlaw gill nets.
It's a mood elevator, a legal one, to recall progress that's been made, notwithstanding some of the certifiably crazy management we've endured.
So let's struggle on, and even win some more big ones.