The Florida fishing net ban will continue, thanks to an appellate court’s ruling.
Last October, a trial judge reopened Florida waters to gill netting. The controversial fishing method has been accused of decimating bait fish populations (mostly mullet). That in turn negatively affected the number of larger game fish like redfish and trout, which eat young mullet.
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Florida’s First District Court of Appeal recently overruled the trial judge’s decision to reopen Florida waters to gill netting, claiming that his ruling was erroneous based on past legal precedent.
“This is a big win for all recreational anglers and CCA Florida will continue to be the outspoken advocate and protector of the Constitutional Amendment which has protected Florida’s marine fisheries and the multibillion dollar economic value of fisheries to Florida’s economy,” said CCA Florida Chairman Fred Crabill in the article.
Commercial fishermen who used gill nets said their livelihoods were lost thanks to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) regulation of net-mesh sizes. Larger fish are unable to get their heads through a smaller mesh size, which keeps them from getting entangled. The FWC’s intent was to allow a commercially feasible mesh size that wouldn’t gill fish but still allow the netters a chance to maintain their business.
Should the commercial netters continue their appeals, the next stage would bring the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
What’s your opinion on Florida’s fishing net ban, and how do you think the 20-year old amendment has affected fishing in the area?