Editor’s Note – We have a tornado of issues happening right now that we need to be getting active on in order to keep doing the sports that we love. Some are environmental, but most boil down to politics and money. We need to make our voices too loud for the politicians to ignore. The Keep America Fishing organization is working hard to fight the machine and is offering advice and simple steps to help us be heard, but we still need to take action of our own. That is the only way it gets done and we all need to work together or we’ll be scratching our heads to figure out how they took our fishing away.
Our Florida Reefs, which refers to itself innocuously as a “community-based planning process,” is attempting to stop you from fishing. They have proposed 28 marine protected areas that would prohibit recreational fishing by creating “no-take zones” from Stuart all the way to Key Biscayne.
That means massive NO FISHING ZONES all along the southeast Florida coast.
We all want to ensure that our coral reefs continue to thrive but this should not come at the expense of access to our fishing resources when there is no clearly identified problem to be addressed. In some cases, limiting fishing can be an effective management tool, but that’s not necessary here. The main threats to our coral reefs in Florida come from increased water temperatures, water quality, and sedimentation – not fishing activities.
Take action today. The public comment period is only until March 1, 2016.
POTENTIAL FLORIDA REEF CLOSURES TALKING POINTS
Thank you. Just follow the simple steps below to make your voice heard.
STEP ONE – Review the sample letter below and use it to craft your message. Feel free to copy and paste but please be sure to add your own thoughts.
Florida’s well-managed marine fisheries are enjoyed by millions of anglers each year and support a thriving marine recreation economy. Our Florida Reefs has proposed many recommendations that would strip state authority to manage our fisheries and close large areas of the ocean to recreational fishing without scientific basis.
Specifically, I oppose the following recommendations:
• Implementing a Marine Protected Area zoning framework
• Nominating the entire region as a National Marine Sanctuary
• Applying for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site status for entire Florida Reef Tract
• Establishing Coral Reef Gardens
Rather than proposing to add new bureaucracies and regulations without a clearly identified problem, Our Florida Reefs should explore ways to support the state’s existing fisheries management efforts which have been proven to sustain healthy fisheries and habitat while maintaining public access.
It’s just that easy. Thank you for making your voice heard. Your participation will make a difference.
If you find the comment form confusing, click here for some helpful instructions.
Photos and article by Keep America Fishing