National Fisherman


The breadbasket of Biscayne Bay isn’t so bountiful anymore.
 
There are fewer fish. And the ones that remain are smaller. Shrimp trawlers have mowed rolling sea grass meadows to the quick. Sponges are almost gone. If there’s coral, it’s mostly rubble.
 
So Biscayne National Park is proposing drastic measures: phasing out commercial fishing in park waters, ending the beloved two-day lobster mini season and imposing a host of new restrictions that park managers hope will revive the vast, 270-square-mile underwater wilderness that once teemed with bonefish, snapper, sea turtles and hundreds of other species.
 
“We recognize that this is a significant change to existing conditions and any time you’re doing that, regardless of the topic, you’re going to get resistance. It’s just human,” said park superintendent Brian Carlstrom, who stressed the plan is “not something we propose to do overnight.”
 
In fact, the rules evolved at a glacial pace over 15 years as three different superintendents struggled to win support from the state, which manages wildlife in parts of the park, and balance the competing interests of environmental groups, anglers and commercial fishermen.
 
The park’s general plan, a broader blueprint that will address more-contentious matters — like whether to ban fishing entirely from some areas or weekend parties by boaters that scar flats and kill sea grass — is still in the works.
 
Read the full story at the Miami Herald>>

Inside the Industry

The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

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Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.

“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.

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