FWC considering creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tarponator's Avatar
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    FWC considering creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations

    Thought you guys would be interested in this....

    Source: http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/...05/game-sport/

    ________________________________________________

    News Release

    Wednesday, December 05, 2012

    Contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943

    FWC Commission considering creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discussed the possibility of creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations at its Dec. 5 Commission meeting in Apalachicola. After public comment from 18 people and the Commissioners’ discussion, the FWC decided to approve the proposed draft rule about the designation. The Commission will possibly make a final decision on this measure at its February meeting in Orlando.

    While Florida has many recreationally important species, it does not have an official saltwater game fish or sport fish designation.

    Reasons for considering these changes include helping highlight and protect some of Florida’s premier recreational fish and encouraging anglers to adopt voluntary conservation practices such as catch-and-release. If adopted, these changes could lead to healthier fish populations and help Florida market its unique fishing opportunities to residents and visitors.

    “I think it’s an opportunity for this Commission to create a lasting legacy,” said Chairman Kenneth Wright. “I think it will send a signal to fishermen around the world that we are a world-class fishing destination.”

    At the meeting, staff presented the Commission with potential game fish and sport fish definitions and described how fish within these designations could be managed.

    Suggested parameters for game fish would include no commercial harvest, possession or sale.

    The sport fish designation would offer a higher level of protection than game fish by making selected species catch-and-release only, including no recreational harvest as well as no commercial harvest, possession or sale.

    Before moving forward with the proposal, the Commission decided to remove a parameter that would have limited gear to hook-and-line only for both designations. They also removed another parameter that was proposed for the game fish designation only that would have required captain and crew of for-hire vessels such as charter boats to have a bag limit of zero and not be allowed to take fish home for themselves.

    Which fish species will be included under the game fish or sport fish designations will not be decided at the February Commission meeting. If game fish and sport fish designations are approved, staff will return to future meetings with suggestions for potential fish species candidates.

    Recreational fishing in Florida has a high cultural and economic value, and protecting Florida’s premier recreational fish is a priority of the Commission.

    Public comment can be sent to Marine@MyFWC.com. Staff members are also hosting webinars on Dec. 10 and 12 to gather public comment. These meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. To participate in the webinar, visit http://fwc.adobeconnect.com/mfm/. There is a cap of 100 participants that can be logged into the online webinar at once. This is on a first-come basis. To give everyone a chance to participate, please do not attend both webinar sessions. Each webinar will cover the same topic.

    Voice-only access is also available for those without computer access. For questions about webinar access, please contact Carly Canion at 850-617-9627 or Carly.Canion@MyFWC.com. Learn more by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing – click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops.”

  2. #2
    Moderator Gary S. Colecchio's Avatar
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    Just got off the phone with Denny.

    CCA took no position.

    Aaron Adams (BTT) was supporting along with a guy from New York who thought it was a great idea to help Florida's economy claiming the "peanut gallery" (Floridians in the audience) would object.

    Denny of course did, saying that there was no science presented at all either from staff or outside to support and designation change, which of course there should be,

    Chairman Wright, isn't.

    FFWCC is inventive and self-interested, rogue and needs to be replaced.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

  3. #3
    Moderator Jack Hexter's Avatar
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    Wonder why CCA took no position at the meeting. I spoke with Trip Aukeman today, who was in attendance at the meeting and was told CCA was in no way in favor of Catch and Release only, for Permit. He stated that there was some feeling for sportfish status (C&R only) in the designated Keys MPA's but no way, for Statewide C&R.

  4. #4
    Senior Member lemaymiami's Avatar
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    Here's what I've already had to say about this topic... http://forums.floridasportsman.com/s...sed-FWC-action

    There's also a current thread on this site regarding this topic... http://forums.floridasportsman.com/s...ested-a-permit

    I'm disappointed that CCA hasn't roundly rejected this proposal and will continue speaking up until it's resolve one way or the other....
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  5. #5
    Moderator Gary S. Colecchio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemaymiami View Post

    I'm disappointed that CCA hasn't roundly rejected this proposal and will continue speaking up until it's resolve one way or the other....

    BTT is largely populated with the more C&A focused CCA members.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

  6. #6
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    When a proposal raises questions about what its intent is, and how it might be used, I think it's best to table it till a number of questions are addressed. But it probably is basically meaningless, at any rate.

    Texas has a formal list of "Game Fish" (about 20 of them) and all it means is that they may be taken only with rod and reel (also called pole and line).

    And then other provisions spell out issues such as whether a particular fish may be sold.

    Of note is the fact that in Texas no nets may be used for any commercial purposes, including cast nets, which may be used only for gathering bait (and not selling it). Twud be good precedent for us eh?

  7. #7
    Junior Member STRIPED MULLET's Avatar
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    Are the designations really needed? Aren't these fish already managed enough? Appears to me that the current regulations for these fish are in balance so what are the designations really accomplishing?

    Can we not just recognize their importance and not add additional confusion?

    This is obviously a pet project of Ken Wright who considers it a legacy for this commission as he admitted it publicly.

    With respect to permit, Ken Wright did say during the meeting "at the end of the day I don't see a prohibition of permit harvest outside of the SPZ". And whoever that spoke on behalf of the CCA or mentioned the CCA (Jeff something?), he did say that they (CCA) were in support of the current permit regulations.

    I think there is a lot more work to do before adopting these designations. Proper management is needed before "designations". The FWC can restrict commercial or recreational take of any species without designations so why do we need these?

    IMO, these are umbrella-type of tools that will only cause more problems than any good. Scott Robinson with the Charter Boat Association recommended adding cobia to the gamefish designation. What's next, mangrove snapper?

    Let science lead the way, not personal agenda.

  8. #8
    Junior Member STRIPED MULLET's Avatar
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    FWC and the commissioners should stand up and state what they really mean. FWC wants to ban commercial sale of these fish, period. FWC wants to ban possession of fish for the recreational fisherman to eat, period. Don't dress it up in all of the "feel good crap" to gain the support of the non-fishing population. Man up and just do it honestly.

    Eventually, you'll either get the recreational sector to take up golf (EDF's choice), or you'll turn us all in to poachers.

  9. #9
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    Ken Wright may well be a poor choice for commissioner. He knows that banning permit harvest in Fla was vetted, analyzed, researched, discussed and voted down TWICE by the Commision over the course of two years. The people of Florida and all the biologists deemed there no legitimate reason to slap another take-away of a sustainable Florida species on beleagured anglers. None whatsoever. Yet a tiny faction of flats purists from The Keys wanted it closed to all of us and Ken Wright has opted to side with them, repeatedly. To heck with what all Floridians think, Im the boss now and I say we close permit harvest for nothing other than my personal preference.
    Some may question appointing an environmental litigation lawyer to lead the states environement:
    http://www.shutts.com/attorneys-Kenneth-Wright.html

    From his own lawyer bio " Mr. Wright often represents clients before government entities at the local and state levels, including commissions and regulatory agencies. This involves work on a wide variety of issues, such as zoning, environmental and other public policy concerns"

    To the casual observer, it might appear that he is "representing" the flats purists on this issue......while serving as commisioner.



    Personally, I think the people of Florida should get together and seek Ken Wrights ouster as Chairman of the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
    This is the wrong guy Gov Scott.
    Last edited by Long Gone; 12-11-2012 at 12:29 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member lemaymiami's Avatar
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    Logged on to the webinar last night on this issue and sent in my comments.... I noted that they've very carefully tried to eliminate any controversy by not talking about what they intend to do with this if it passes. The entire session very carefully avoided any talk of which species, etc.

    That's a very bad sign as far as I'm concerned.... It almost sounded like the folks behind this were working on someone's political campaign.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666

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