Big changes to fishing in Florida's Biscayne National Park may be coming soon.
Biscayne National Park has long been one of the most abundant fisheries for both commercial and recreational fishing in the southeast.
But in recent years, the park has experienced a dramatic decline in fish populations and a disappearing ecosystem.
The once abundant bonefish, snapper, and turtle populations, as well as the coral reefs, sponges and other marine wildlife that make up the park's underwater wilderness are quickly fading from view.
In an effort to preserve what's left, the park's managers have proposed some dramatic changes to commercial and recreational fishing within the park, according to floridatoday.com.
The most significant changes are the ending to the park's beloved two-day lobster mini season, and phasing out all commercial fishing in the park.
Other proposed changes include:
- Raising the catch size of popular fish species.
- Outlawing spearguns and limiting spearfishing to tankless dives.
- Establishing no-trawl zones for shrimpers
- Making some reefs off limits to crab and lobster traps.
The park's managers hope these regulations will help restore what's left of the park's marine wildlife, sea grass and other bottom habitats.
"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," said Biscayne Park Superintendent Brian Carlstrom. "It's just human."
In order for the changes to take effect, the park will have to win some support from the state government, which manages wildlife in some areas of the park, as well as environmental groups and fishing organizations that have a stake in the park.
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Featured image via Wikimeida Commons