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.

CCA Florida has a proven history of support for marine fisheries conservation programs. Our 26 years of effort clearly demonstrate that commitment. From the protective regulations for snook, redfish, bonefish, groupers, snappers, the constitutional ban on the use of gill and entangling nets and the saltwater fishing license to raise funds for research and management, we have been in the front line supporting marine conservation efforts. However, attempts to simply prohibit all fishing in large areas will not be supported by CCA. Prohibiting recreational access and recreational fishing as a management measure should be the last resort, not the first option.

Therefore, CCA DOES NOT SUPPORT the Preferred Alternative 4 or Alternatives 2, 3, or 5, as written, which also have marine reserves (no fishing zones) or large no motor zones which severely restrict boating access and fishing. CCA could support Alternative 2 if access corridors where established in the non-combustion engine zones.

  1. 1.BNP’s CIRCUMVENTION AND RELUCTANCE TO WORK WITH FWC ON MARINE RESERVE ZONES

2. ACCESS RESTRICTION ZONES IN THE DRAFT ALTERNATIVES

In closing, we look forward to continuing to work with Biscayne National Park and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to develop a General Management Plan which will protect the Park’s valuable natural resources while maintaining access for saltwater anglers.

Prepared by:   CCA Florida

4061 Forrestal Ave, Suite 8

Orlando, FL. 32806

(850)559-0060