Will a Popular South Florida National Park Soon Ban All Commercial fishing?
Biscayne National Park has certainly had its fair share of catchy headline news stories. From the ever popular Stiltsville homes, to hugely popular regattas and speed boat races, Biscayne National Park has seen it all. Currently, there is a movement that proposes a total ban on commercial fishing within the park as well as other significant changes to the current law.
As a fisherman and outdoorsman who recreates in the waters of South Florida, I love to fish, lobster hunt and spear. However, I also have a responsibility to not only fish responsibly and share in our natural resources, but I also understand my role in preserving our natural resources for generations to come. With that being said, I support efforts to preserve and protect areas of reef that are dwindling or destroyed.
Part of the changes that are being discussed by park managers will include raising the catch size of popular fish, outlawing spear guns and scuba diving equipment, establishing a no-trawl zone for shrimpers, and closing certain reefs off to crab and lobster traps. Most notably, park managers are also considering an end to the popular two-day lobster mini season in July.
Many are fearful that a total ban on fishing and recreating within the national park would be overly burdensome. According to floridatoday.com, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission supports keeping a recreational fishing exception within any proposed law that would come as a result of these discussions.
Aside from the obvious benefit to the park reefs and overall conservation, these new regulations would improve safety and reduce the number of boating accidents on the bay. As it stands, Biscayne National Park has more than 500,000 visitors each year. These numbers skyrocket during peak periods like the two-day lobster mini season. Each year many divers injure themselves or are injured by reckless boaters during this hectic mini season. Curtailing some of these activities may reduce the number of injuries that occur in Biscayne National Park.
Regardless of what legislators finally decide on in Tallahassee, the bottom line is that we all need to do our part to recreate responsibly.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by noomhh