CORTEZ -- It will be too late for long-defunct fish markets in Cortez, but a Leon County circuit judge's ruling could spell the beginning of the end for the ban on gillnet fishing in Florida's coastal waters.
In a sweeping judgment in favor of commercial mullet fishermen, Judge Jackie Fulford called contradictions between the ban approved by voters in 1994 and rules adopted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 1997 to implement it a "legal absurdity," according to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat. She ordered a halt Tuesday to enforcement of Florida's constitutional amendment limiting net fishing in state coastal waters, according to the Democrat.
"The court is not saying that preserving our marine life is absurd. Instead the absurdity is created in the law and how it is being applied. It is abundantly unfair for the courts to continue to attempt enforcement of laws that contradict each other," the Democrat reported Fulford wrote in her 11-page ruling. "An absolute mess has been created."