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No Fishing Zones to Biscayne Bay?

In the map at right, the purple area in eastern Biscayne Bay could be sanctioned off as a no-fishing zone. The area encompasses waters between Hawk Channel and eastern boundaries of the park, an area of 10,522 acres.

Biscayne National Park officials are considering a no-fishing-zone in the highly popular body of water. Public hearings start this week on proposed alternatives for the new Biscayne National Park General Management Plan. The alternatives present different ways to manage resources, visitor use, facilities and infrastructure at the national park.

What's concerning for anglers is that some of the alternatives contain a Marine Reserve Zone, better known as Marine Protected Areas or No Fishing Zones. To the point, Biscayne Bay National Park's preferred alternative contains the Marine Reserve Zone. For complete in-depth coverage of the Marine Protected Area movement, check out the October issue of Florida Sportsman.

Each alternative is listed in general terms below:


The no-action alternative consists of a continuation of existing management and trends at Biscayne National Park and provides a baseline for comparison in evaluating the changes and impacts of the other alternatives. The National Park Service would continue to manage the national park as it is currently being managed. Existing operations and visitor facilities would continue, and no new construction would be authorized other than what has already been approved and funded. Current law, policy, and plans, would continue to provide the framework of guidance.


The concept for park management under alternative 2 would be to emphasize the recreational use of the park while providing for resource protection as governed by law, policy, or resource sensitivity. This concept would be accomplished by providing a high level of services, facilities, and access to specific areas of the park.


The concept for park management under alternative 3 would be to allow all visitors a full range of visitor experiences throughout most of the park and would use a permit system to authorize a limited number of visitors to access some areas of the park. Management actions would provide strong natural and cultural resource protection and diverse visitor experiences.


Alternative 4 is the National Park Service's preferred alternative and would emphasize strong natural and cultural resource protection while providing a diversity of visitor experiences. Some areas would be reserved for limited types of visitor use.


The concept for park management under alternative 5 would be to promote the protection of natural resources, including taking actions to optimize conditions for protection and restoration. A permit system would be used in some parts of the park. Other areas would have limited numbers of visitors, manner of access, and recreational activities to provide certain experiences.

Attempts to simply prohibit fishing in large areas have long been opposed by fishermen and recreational fishing groups. Groups such as the Coastal Conservation Association do not support the preferred Alternative 4 or the other Alternatives 2, 3, or 5, which also have marine reserves (no fishing zones) or large no motor zones which severely restrict boating. Prohibiting recreational access and recreational fishing in areas with historic recreational use, like Biscayne National Park, should be the last resort, not the first option.

To voice your concerns, go to any of the three meetings this week or send in your comments electronically.

Public Hearing Locations

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 6 p.m.

Crowne Plaza Hotel Miami International Airport

950 NW 42 Ave

Miami, Florida

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 6 p.m.

Florida City, City Hall

404 W. Palm Drive

Florida City, Florida

Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 6 p.m.

Holiday Inn Key Largo

99701 Overseas Highway

Key Largo, Florida

To read more about the General Management Plan please visit:

Send in your comments to the National Park Service.

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