Thank you for your sound management of Florida’s fish and wildlife. I am contacting you regarding the future discussions pertaining to the concept of creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations for Florida.
There are obvious benefits to the species that potentially could land on either of those lists. Florida is the fishing capital of the world and by creating additional protection for some of the potential species this would help preserve and protect the superb tourism and fishing industry-related communities all around our great state.
In June 2011 the Commission approved a series of modifications to the Permit, Florida Pompano, and African Pompano rules after your staff experts did an outstanding job of gathering public input through a series of statewide workshops and video-conferences for over a year and a half. The resulting draft rule revisions indicate that a majority of Florida’s permit fishermen approve of allowing individuals to harvest their legal bag limit of permit by hook and line or spearfishing gear.
Now I understand that Commissioner Chairman Ken Wright has made it clear that he would like additional protections for permit. Specifically he would like to see permit be designated to the sport fish category and make it catch and release only. According to FWC staff biologists, permit stocks are not even remotely in trouble per the most recent data. There is zero evidence that they have not been subject to an increase in pressure, nor have they been found to be endangered in any way.
So tell me, how is it justified for a single person to force their personal preference on all of Florida’s fishermen regardless of sound science?
In fact, this issue continues to be fueled primarily by a group of catch and release only fishermen (and now apparently Commissioner Chairman Ken Wright) who would like you to force their personal preference on all of Florida’s fishermen regardless of the lack of true need, which I believe, is unfair to the citizens and tourists of Florida. I hope you will too.
The FWC resources being spent on this permit sport fish issue would be, in my opinion, better spent on other fisheries which have documented problems, not catering to the personal preferences of Commissioner Chairman Ken Wright and a small group catch and release only fishermen.