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Biscayne Park Should Dump Proposed Plan, Resolution Urges

TO CONCERNED BISCAYNE ANGLERS:

Florida Sportsman Magazine and Communications Network hereby urge by resolution that Biscayne National Park authorities reject and abandon the proposed changes to the general management plan for the park.

Instead of imposing the controversial and highly restrictive changes, the National Park Service should fully adopt the rules and regulations of the neighboring Everglades National Park, which are effective and time-proven.

The FS resolution which follows is basically drawn from a similar request from the Ocean Reef Community Association of Key Largo.

Readers are encouraged to endorse and forward the message with comments by email to: [email protected]

A Resolution Opposing the Biscayne National Park Supplemental Draft of the General Management Plan, Alternative #6

WHEREAS, Florida’s abundance of quality fisheries, fresh and saltwater habitats, climate and tourism opportunities for anglers make it the No. 1 destination for anglers and the Fishing Capital of the World; and
WHEREAS, the Florida Sportsman Magazine, representing 300,000 recreational anglers, is strongly interested in protecting reef and fish resources; and
WHEREAS, the National Park Service’s supplemental draft of the General Management Plan preferred Alternative # 6 for Biscayne National Park strikes through the heart of what makes Florida a premiere destination for fishing; and
WHEREAS, Alternative #6, would severely restrict recreational fishing by creating a zone the size of Manhattan for fishing and diving and would set a bad precedent; and
WHEREAS, Alternative #6 would prevent anchoring as well as harvesting grouper in the zone and would limit fishing gear to hook and line with few exceptions; and
WHEREAS, Alternative #6 would limit access to the zone by requiring purchase of a special license and by limiting the number of licenses issued to no more than 500 (430 private anglers and 70 fishing guides), which FWC would issue through a lottery system open to anyone; and
WHEREAS, Alternative #6 would put additional burdens on fishermen and government agencies by requiring anglers to submit mandatory monthly logbooks detailing their catches; and
WHEREAS, anglers bring billions of dollars to Florida, supporting more than 75,000 jobs in Florida, and limiting fishing access at the park will have a detrimental effect on area businesses; and
WHEREAS, Alternative #6 would restrict fair and reasonable enjoyment of the national resource, and limiting fishing in the park will create excessive fishing pressures on other areas in the vicinity; and
WHEREAS, the cumulative impact of restricted areas in adjacent areas such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Everglades National Park has not been studied; and
WHEREAS, the neighboring Everglades National Park has already established long-standing and extremely effective regulations covering fishing and boating that should serve as a model for marine jurisdictions; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Florida Sportsman Magazine urgently recommends that instead of the preferred alternative, the Biscayne National Park should follow the example of the Everglades National Park and work closely with state and federal entities to continue to manage our waters for the highest and best use of the resource and general public.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, the Editor in Chief of the Florida Sportsman Magazine has adopted the resolution on this 4th day of March, 2014.

Karl Wickstrom, Editor in Chief
Florida Sportsman Magazine

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