permit controversy --- proposed FWC action..

lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain
For those that don't follow rule making about fisheries here in Florida (the FWC is the agency responsible for all of this in our state) there's a proposed rule change that would allow the FWC to designate any specie of fish in a manner that would allow them to stop anyone from taking one -whether it was justified or not by the actual status of fish stocks or any other consideration that I can see.... At any rate here's the proposal along with my response. I think it's important that every angler in the state learn about this and speak up on one side or the other of this proposition... It will be pretty clear where I stand after you read what I had to say about it.... This exchange of emails comes from a request by my local CCA rep...




FYI:
I am not sure if you any thoughts on the FWC's concept of "gamefish" or "sportfish" designations.
The essence is that the FWC is considering rule changes that would create two "designations" for saltwater fish. These designations are game fish and sport fish (an "elite" designation) and at this time are defined as:
1) Game fish: No commercial harvest or possession, no sale or purchase, hook and line only, and zero bag limit for the captain and crew of for-hire vessels; and
2) Sport fish: No harvest or possession recreationally or commercially, no purchase or sale, and when targeting, only hook and line gear

Initially, no species will be placed in these designations; the placement of species will follow under separate rule making. In english, the FWC will create the "bucket" and put fish species in it separately. BUT, the species being mentioned for game fish are snook, redfish and seatrout and the species for inclusion in the sport fish rule are tarpon, bonefish, billfish and permit. It would seem that most of these are no brainers, but the placement of permit in the "sportfish" designation is causing a good deal of concern. There are some in the Keys and BTT that want the sportfish designation, but what appears to be a larger number want permit in gamefish bucket as they are good table fare and a recreational meat fish, there is no indication that the stocks are in trouble and there was just a special permit zone put in place 2 weeks ago for the Keys and modifications to the bag limit.




The DRAFT rule is described by FWC as:
68B-2.010 – Game Fish and Sport Fish Designation – The proposed draft rule would create a new subsection that states the intent of the designations, which is to conserve premier recreational fish species in Florida and enhance the marketing capacity for Florida’s recreational fishing opportunities. The proposed draft rule would create a saltwater game fish designation, the components of which would be no commercial harvest or possession, no sale or purchase, hook and line only, and zero bag limit for the captain and crew of for-hire vessels. The proposed draft rule would also create an elite designation for saltwater sport fish, the components of which would be no harvest or possession recreationally or commercially, no purchase or sale, and when targeting, only hook and line gear.


///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Here's my response (and I'm hoping it gets as wide a dissemination as possible - this is important, folks.)



Thanks for the heads up... I've been following the early info on this particular proposition with interest and I think every portion of it is flawed and it deserves to be rejected, period.

Here's my reasoning. We already have in place entirely satisfactory rules that protect each specie from over-fishing as well as the opportunity for the FWC, with its rule making authority, to designate any specie as "Not for sale", the way redfish and snook are now.... I'm aware that this is being driven by activist groups coming from the Keys who seek to provide "additional protections" for fish that they consider to be under stress. This particular movement completely ignores the real problem with every flats fish in the Keys... which is simply that the fishing pressure on them in that area is darned nearly overwhelming and growing every year. Let me put it more simply... in the Keys there are just as many bonefish, permit, and tarpon as there ever were - but they are under such fishing pressure that every year flats anglers in that area will have less and less success. This attempt to "protect" them completely ignores that basic fact. By the way, that's the main reason I do my best not to fish in that area any more - the fishing pressure down there is just overwhelming, and getting worse....

In contrast permit along the west coast of Florida (including offshore of the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands) are under no particular stress, are in great abundance, and usually considered to be a great table fish as well as a great fighting sport fish. I do not want to see permit allowed for sale in this state - but just as equally, I do not want to see any angler denied the opportunity to keep one for the table if so desired (this would be sacrilege in the Keys....). These attempts to do just that ---to accomplish a local agenda down in the Keys are difficult to accept. It seems to be dishonest to claim that local desires are more important than the actual condition of that species in the rest of the state.

Lastly, some years ago there was a question asked of guides at a large meeting with the FWC about whether they'd agree not to keep any snook when they were working as guides. Most present agreed with that. It appears that this early agreement has morphed into licensed guides and crew not being allowed to keep any snook ever, even when they do not have any customers aboard.... Now it's being proposed for other species as well. I think it's high time that a specific statement was made by the FWC that this kind of rule only applies when a licensed captain or crew actually has customers aboard - and that the rest of the time we're no different than any other angler on the water, obeying the existing rules and regs....

I'd be glad to appear in public at any forum to voice these views where all can hear them and decide if I'm on the right side of this issue. I can't say how much I disapprove of those with a private agenda that want to enforce their views on the majority of anglers around the state that don't face a similar situation at all...
Bob LeMay
(954) 435-5666
Tight Lines
Bob LeMay
(954) 435-5666

Replies

  • hittin'_bottomhittin'_bottom Posts: 178 Officer
    Thanks for the information Capt Bob. Now how do we fight this?



    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
    I've upped my standards, now up yours!!!
  • MoganMaxMoganMax Posts: 139 Officer
    Thanks for posting. you are one of my favorite captains to hear from on the forum. I love hearing your opinions on different subjects like these. this gives me some things to think about. as stated before.... how do we fight this?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain
    The opportunity will come to send your thoughts to the FWC.... I'll see if there's a particular format to make your views known. I figure that we'll be hearing more, rather than less about this. There's already a thread about this on the Conservation board. Here's the thread.... and now I'm finding out that the meeting where this is likely to be decided is set up in Orlando early next year.....


    http://forums.floridasportsman.com/showthread.php?85724-Have-you-harvested-a-permit
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • TailHunterTailHunter Posts: 333 Officer
    Bob your words are exactly how I feel.
    - Travis

    Shut Up and Fish

    "Common sense isn't as common as commonly thought." Me
    "The unprepared man goes into the game prepared to lose." Me
  • hittin'_bottomhittin'_bottom Posts: 178 Officer
    TailHunter wrote: »
    Bob your words are exactly how I feel.

    Yes!!


    Can the mods please make this a sticky in all relevant forums please?


    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
    I've upped my standards, now up yours!!!
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 7,799 Moderator
    Wow. Almost as depressed now as I was at 10:00 pm on Nov 6.

    This is incredible.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • edczachor36edczachor36 Posts: 219 Officer
    I sent off my two cents, hope it helps.

    Could you provide more info on: special permit zone put in place 2 weeks ago for the Keys and modifications to the bag limit. I was unable to find anything on this.
  • dtobiasdtobias Posts: 733 Officer
    Once again Capt. LeMay you have brought something of vital importance to the attention of the forum. We need fisheries management to base such decisions on sound science and research, not on the "feelings" or "desires" of mostly well-intentioned enviromental groups. I totally agree that the FWC needs to come out and state that when not carrying charters, guides should be treated no differently than any other angler. To do otherwise, would be discriminatory in my opinion. Thanks again for raising this issue to our attention.
  • Da LuiiDa Luii Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    :mad oh this makes me MAD but happy that someone shared with me to understand Tallahasse and their laws
    Life's a Luau so Eat, Drink & live it large :cool:
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,806 Captain
    Capt. Bob,

    If you want anyone on FWCC to listen to you or give your rational thought process any credence, you had better start taking some of those FWCC Commissioners on some free flyfishing trips. . .based on the way they handled the Special Permit Zone vote.

    Good luck. I'll PM you my information if you don't have it anymore, I'm always happy to go on record at the meetings (although I don't know how happy it makes others.)
  • DaziggDazigg Posts: 206 Officer
    The rules have become so convoluted that it just turns me off from fishing as much as I used to. Years ago I fished so much it was borderline obsession, these days not as much due to work and family, but JEES, everytime I get the opportunity to throw a line in the water I feel like a I need to call an attorney beforehand..........
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,282 Officer
    And people wonder why I now fish in Mexico.
    .......Rick
  • XXXXXX Posts: 160 Officer
    Bob. So basically gamefish status really only effects the charter captain from keeping any fish for their clients? And the rec angler can still keep a limit if they choose? Am i reading this correctly?
    Sportfish means no one can harvest the fish commercialy or recreationaly?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain
    This whole deal has yet to be decided but in essence it would allow the FWC to bend to whoever is the more politically powerful and make decisions about our fisheries that aren't based on science or any real need. If we go down that road we're well on our way to the kind of rule making that NOAA, the EPA, and everyone in Washington would understand and applaud -that sort of stuff is common at the federal level, unfortunately....

    The best example I can think of is all the fuss down in the Keys about the permit... folks down there that just happen to be politically well connected... want to see permit made a no take fish everywhere in the state. Folks in the Ten Thousand Islands, the remainder of the southwest coast all the way up to Tampa consider a permit to be a food fish.... and there's absolutely not one speck of evidence that permit stocks are anything other than healty and thriving everywhere you find them (except maybe up on the flats around the Keys - but sheer fishing pressure is the real problem down there...).

    Another example is the current continuing closed season for snook from the Everglades all the up the west coast of Florida. Their own researchers told the FWC that it wasn't needed but they've done it anyway to satisfy folks loudly complaining all the way up in Tampa.... These kind of decisions will come back to bite us. As long as decisions about fisheries are made for the welfare of the fish populations with solid science and data to support them we'll be in good shape. -But that's not the intention here and I believe we'll suffer for it in the end.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 7,799 Moderator
    A survey can be found here if you wish to voice your disgust...

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JG2XCTR
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • KillowattKillowatt Posts: 30 Deckhand
    Thanks, I just voiced my disgust...
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain
    I've been out of town the last five days.... Can anyone advise the status of this dangerous proposal? -as of 28 Jan...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • catdad100catdad100 Posts: 91 Deckhand
    Gotta nip this in the bud or it will just snowball
    Southern Charm 26ft. World Cat Center Console:cool:
  • closcabcloscab Posts: 122 Officer
    Thanks for the education, would have never known without your post.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,282 Officer
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    The best example I can think of is all the fuss down in the Keys about the permit... folks down there that just happen to be politically well connected... want to see permit made a no take fish everywhere in the state. Folks in the Ten Thousand Islands, the remainder of the southwest coast all the way up to Tampa consider a permit to be a food fish.... and there's absolutely not one speck of evidence that permit stocks are anything other than healty and thriving everywhere you find them (except maybe up on the flats around the Keys - but sheer fishing pressure is the real problem down there...).

    Another example is the current continuing closed season for snook from the Everglades all the up the west coast of Florida. Their own researchers told the FWC that it wasn't needed but they've done it anyway to satisfy folks loudly complaining all the way up in Tampa.... These kind of decisions will come back to bite us. As long as decisions about fisheries are made for the welfare of the fish populations with solid science and data to support them we'll be in good shape. -But that's not the intention here and I believe we'll suffer for it in the end.

    Re the permit in the Keys, I quit guiding at the end of 1991 and did not return until the Winter of 2001. I found that there seemed to be just as many, if not more permit on the flats as there were 10 years prior. This feeling has held true, ever since then. I submit that FWC and their survey takers, are polling people who couldn't catch a permit in the first place, much less see one on the flats. Unfortunately, the Keys are host to a plethora of new guides who think this venue is an easy (and enjoyable) means of surviving in the Keys. They can't catch permit with any regularity, either. I further submit that these are some of the people who are crying the loudest, in an effort to somehow justify their failure on a daily basis. The guides that I know, who have been there for 10+ years, share my feelings.

    As far as the snook are concerned, I have not spent enough time on the west coast to have an opinion. Bob would be a far better judge, since he fishes there on almost a daily basis. But it always made sense to me that the closed seasons on snook should be a little more stringent there, since this is the major brooding area for the entire State. Couple that with the fact that a lot of the time, they have so much further to go to get to the protection of deep water in the event of a cold snap, and one can see how west coast snook could be deemed much more vulnerable in this respect, relative to their east coast brethren. I DO have an issue with the current slot on snook, but have no qualms about the 1 per day bag limit.

    But above all, this proposal by the FWC is total BS. No other way to put it. There is absolutely NO indication to even suggest that permit are in any way in danger of being over-fished and that their populations are in any way stressed. What we have here, are a bunch of marine biologists, who live off Government grants. They are constantly looking for ways to justify their positions. Yet at the same time, they look for the easy way out. In other words, they will ask some tourist, fishing off the Lake Worth Pier, if he has caught any permit recently. Gee...I wonder what the answer might be. (even though several world record permit have come from Lake Worth)

    Sorry to rant...I'll go now.
    .......Rick
  • Josh85Josh85 Posts: 377 Officer
    Ridiculous-everyone should band together and raise hell. Oh-no snapper? Ok- everyone that can make it offshore should meet in DROVES and bottom fish. Just to make a point-im so sick of the system telling everyone what to do. Dont do this, dont do that. Go here. Go there. Stop. Wheres your registration. Can I see in your cooler? Oh you caught' em! You cant keem em' :nono . Can I board your vessel? Whats your mothers maiden name? Did you files taxes last year? Did you lie when you files your taxes last year? Blah blah. Get the hell out of here is what I want to say! I dont like jail though :) . Then they want you to stay a freakin' country mile off the bank everywhere... man can we just freakin' fish?
  • If1shalldayIf1shallday Posts: 464 Officer
    Not likng this one.....

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