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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                   CONTACT: Ted Forsgren

March 5, 2012                                                                                 (407)702-3567

 

CCA FLORIDA CONFRONTS THE LATEST ATTEMPT BY COMMERCIAL NETTERS TO CIRCUMVENT THE GILL NET BAN

     Once again a small group of commercial netters are trying to get the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to allow larger mesh sizes in nets so they can be used as gill nets. The netters are now going to local county commissions and asking them to approve resolutions to the FWC urging them to increase the allowable mesh size. The netting group is not telling the whole story.

     “CCA Florida has sent letters to the Governors Office and to all coastal County Commissioners providing information regarding the prohibition on the use of gill nets”, said Jeff Miller, CCA Florida Chairman of the Board. “We are concerned that Collier and other county commissions are not familiar with the history of FWC actions and the legal findings of fact in the previous lawsuits, so we have prepared a package of information on the past decisions that we have sent to the coastal County Commissions”.

     The measures being pushed by the netting group include a resolution which would allow net fishers to use a larger size mesh in their nets. However; all the current and best scientific information and testimony indicates that marine nets with mesh sizes exceeding two inches are gill nets. The critical factor in determining whether a net is a seine net or a gill net is mesh size. Modifying regulations to allow nets which exceed two inches stretched mesh would not be allowed by the net limitation amendment. Net studies, expert testimony and all court cases agree on that point.

     In November 1994 an overwhelming 72 percent of Floridas voters said yes to the constitutional amendment limiting marine net fishing. The amendment includes both a prohibition on the use of gill and entangling nets in all state waters and a size limit on other nets. Although the restrictions have been in place for nearly 16 years, there are still factions within the commercial industry who refuse to accept the legal reality that the constitutional prohibition on gill nets means no gill nets.

     The last time the netting group went to the FWC in 2008 their request to increase the mesh sizes was again rejected by the Commission. Here are two of the strong comments made by Commissioners at that meeting.

     “This is not a science question, the resource has rebounded. This constitutional amendment passed by a remarkable margin and our predecessors created a bright line definition, done objectively, and upheld in litigation,” said FWC Commissioner Ken Wright. “I am adamantly in favor of keeping the current two inch regulation. We are Trustees of a decision and bound to follow the will of the people”.

     “Going to a larger mesh size has the intent of creating a gill net. We cant point to a dog and call it a cat,” said FWC Commissioner Brian Yablonski. “We are bound by duty to the law and must respect the rule of law”.

     Since 1994, there have been numerous lawsuits, attempts to create enforcement loopholes, and outright scams all designed to invalidate or circumvent provisions of the constitutional amendment. All have failed. The Florida Legislature, Florida Courts, and state agencies have upheld the clear intent of Florida voters.

     “CCA Florida will continue to be the outspoken advocate and protector of the Constitutional Amendment which prohibits the use of gill nets and other damaging nets” said CCA Florida Chairman Jeff Miller.

“30”

 

For more information or to join CCA Florida, please visit CCA Floridas website at www.ccaflorida.org.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                   CONTACT: Ted Forsgren

April 7, 2012                                                                                    (407)702-3567

 

OPPOSE THE TRANSFERABILITY OF FOOD SHRIMPING PERMITS IN TAMPA BAY!

We urge all conservation minded recreational fishers and other conservation groups to send emails opposing the transfer of food shrimping permits.

CCA Florida strongly opposes the transferability of food shrimping permits in Tampa Bay. Those remaining permits should have been phased out years ago, as was planned, by the Marine Fisheries Commission. Otter trawls and other net gear for food shrimping are some of the most damaging and wasteful types of commercial gear. In the early 1990s, the number of food shrimpers had grown substantially. Anglers and other conservationists had become concerned about the damage to sea grasses and the by-kill damage to juvenile fish. When the issue was brought before the Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC), the Commissioners were also concerned about the damage caused by the shrimpers. The MFC reached a compromise with the Tampa Bay shrimpers that the existing food shrimpers would be required to get a permit and when the shrimper decided to stop shrimping the permit would expire. The Marine Fisheries Commission was the precursor agency to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The FWC staff recommendation will prevent the phase out of food shrimping in the bay. Allowing the transfer of permits, and likely sale, will make it difficult to remove the food shrimpers and their damaging gear. Those who pay to enter the fishery will fight to prevent ending the program if tranferability occurs. In addition there is a possibility of more shrimpers demanding to be included in the program.

The remaining food shrimpers have had 20 years to amortize their original investments. They have had exclusive commercial access to that public resource over that time period. It is time to get all the food shrimpers out of Tampa Bay.

ACT NOW! SEND YOUR EMAILS OPPOSING THE TRANSFERABILITY OF SHRIMPING PERMITS IN TAMPA BAY TO THE TAMPA BAY AGENCY ON BAY MANAGEMENT AT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT TED FORSGREN AT This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 CCA OPPOSES PLAN TO INCREASE REGULATIONS IN KINGS BAY

 

 Dear CCA members,

 CCA Florida has recently sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) opposing their plan to increase the manatee regulations in Kings Bay, Crystal River on the basis that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) state regulations already cover all of the areas that are proposed for additional regulations. CCA ultimately is concerned over angler access to these areas and the Gulf of Mexico. The USFWS proposal has caused a huge backlash among many interested groups. The Crystal River City Council and the Citrus County Commission have both voted unanimously to oppose the proposed plan. Anglers and other boaters have showed up in large numbers at public hearings to oppose the federal plan. These unwarranted additional federal regulations will undermine the support of local government and other groups which are necessary to maintain long term protection of manatees and access for water users. 

 The link below is a petition that has been created by the Save Crystal River group. Please help out your CCA Florida members that live and play in Crystal River by clicking on the link to help keep more unnecessary federal regulations out of state waters.

savecrystalriver.com/petition/

CCA FLORIDA GRASSROOTS ALERT!

 

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK UPCOMING MEETINGS

_______________________

CCA URGES YOU TO ATTEND ONE OR BOTH OF THE UPCOMING MEETINGS THAT WILL BE HELD BY EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK!

Just over one year ago the Everglades National Park (ENP) administrators implemented the largest pole and troll zone in Florida, the 9,400-acre Snake Bight Pole and Troll Zone was an area of concern because of the purported damage to the sea-grasses. Next week the ENP will hold workshops that will involve comprehensive discussions to present what's happened to date, what activities are planned in the future, and to get your feedback on the PTZ – its layout, how its signed, the education and outreach efforts, how you think it's working, and suggested adjustments the Park should consider.

 

CCA Florida believes that all pole and troll zones should have access corridors in the no combustion engine zones, properly sized pole and troll zones, adequate signage, and proper education and outreach for the users. While the Snake Bight pole and troll zone has access corridors CCA would like to see the ENP implement additional access along the Snake Bight Channel and the small creek that runs from the channel to the west. CCA also urges the ENP to create access in the eastern side of the pole and troll zone where deeper water runs from Porpoise Point to the Black Wall. These zones have been employed successfully in other areas with similar concerns and allow for resource protection as well as reasonable access and enhancement of the angling experience. Working with local experts can help identify boating access corridors which would allow reasonable fishing access while protecting sea-grass areas.

    

CCA RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Reasonable access
  • Properly sized PTZS
  • Adequate signage
  • Proper education and outreach
  • A complete study of this pilot PTZ before moving forward with any other closures

 

Meetings will start at 5:30 p.m. and will last till 8 p.m.

 

                 Monday, March 5, 2012                                 Thursday March 8, 2012

John Campbell Agricultural Center                Murray Nelson Government Center

18710 SW 288th Street, Homestead, FL       102050 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL

 

Please Contact CCA Florida for more information: 407-854-7002
 

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The Canaveral National Seashore (CNS) contains some of the finest saltwater fishing in Florida. One of the premier areas is Mosquito Lagoon, the home of huge redfish. Anglers come long distances to fish the lagoon in search of world records on light tackle. It is an outstanding area for fly fishermen. Many records have been taken in the lagoon because of the unique relationship of redfish and the lagoon. Redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon are known to spend their entire lives in the lagoon and do not migrate offshore to spawn as do most redfish. Therefore, the lagoon contains huge spawning size redfish year round. Huge redfish in shallow water year round is a lure that brings light tackle anglers from all over the country to Mosquito Lagoon.

The Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River areas are an important and valuable component of Floridas 18 billion dollar saltwater recreational fishery. The real challenge to CNS managers is to work cooperatively with recreational fishers to develop plans which provide angler access and resource protection. CCA Florida has a proven history of support for marine fisheries conservation programs and we look forward to working with the CNS to achieve those goals.

Read more: CCA FLORIDA COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CANAVERAL NATIONAL SEASHORE GENERAL MANAGEMENT PLAN

Recommendations:

Recreational Fishery:

  • Remove closed months for the recreational sector in the Northern and Southern zones.
  • Maintain current size and bag limit in these zones.
  • Do not allow beach or haul seines as allowable gear

Commercial Fishery

  • Maintain the three month commercial season with no increase in daily take.
  • Do not allow a incidental by-catch harvest of Seatrout
  • Do not allow beach or haul seines as allowable gear

 

Read more: CCA FLORIDA RECOMMENDATIONS for FWC SPOTTED SEATROUT MANAGEMENT

The Biscayne National Park (BNP) contains some of the finest saltwater recreational fishing areas in Florida. The Parks location in highly urbanized southeast Florida makes it an extremely valuable component of Floridas 18 billion dollar saltwater recreational fishery. High recreational usage is one of the major values and benefits of the Park. Such recreational use can create management challenges and opportunities. In recent years, some groups and managers have been promoting “no entry” and “no fishing zones” as a means to protect natural resources. Such measures have been pushed even before other more reasonable and proven measures have been tried. The real challenge to Park managers is to not shut down access but rather, instead, to work cooperatively with recreational fishers to develop plans which provide access and resource protection.

Read more: CCA FLORIDA COMMENTS & RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK GENERAL MANAGEMENT PLAN

Illegally harvesting Florida's most important sport fish is serious business, as a woman and two men in Brevard County found out recently. They are each facing numerous misdemeanor charges for snook and red drum violations after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Kris Culver watched them catch and put the fish in their car at Sebastian Inlet during the night of Jan. 6.

Fernando Pantoja (DOB 05/02/80), of Okeechobee; Kenneth William Weber (DOB 10/09/64), of Vero Beach; and Gloria Lynn Melton (DOB 04/01/64) of Melbourne are each charged with possession of snook out of season, illegal method for harvesting snook (cast net), over-the-bag-limit of snook, possession of undersized red drum, and over-the-bag-limit of red drum. The number of illegal fish totaled 26 red drum, four snook and one black drum. Culver donated them to a local charitable organization.

Read more: 3 Face Charges for Snook, Red Drum Violations