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.
â€œCCA Florida has sent letters to the Governors Office and to all coastal County Commissioners providing information regarding the prohibition on the use of gill netsâ€, said Jeff Miller, CCA Florida Chairman of the Board. â€œWe 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 Commissionsâ€.
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.
â€œThis 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,â€ said FWC Commissioner Ken Wright. â€œI 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 peopleâ€.
â€œGoing to a larger mesh size has the intent of creating a gill net. We cant point to a dog and call it a cat,â€ said FWC Commissioner Brian Yablonski. â€œWe are bound by duty to the law and must respect the rule of lawâ€.
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.
â€œCCA Florida will continue to be the outspoken advocate and protector of the Constitutional Amendment which prohibits the use of gill nets and other damaging netsâ€ said CCA Florida Chairman Jeff Miller.
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.
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.