Awash in new closures: a tidal wave of reef fish restrictions sweeps across the state.
It's a scattershot approach fisheries managers are taking, with micro-managed decisions made before the impacts of past decisions have been evaluated. The most recent closure is a swath of the Gulf of Mexico known as The Edges. Here, no fishing is permitted between Jan. 1 through Apr. 30, ostensibly to protect spawning gag grouper. The same rule that enacted The Edges closure took away end dates for the nearby Madison/Swanson and Steamboat Lumps closures. Bizzarely, or should we say predictably, fisheries managers this year implemented a Gulf-wide recreational grouper season closure from Feb. 1 through Apt. 1. And, they took away an existing one-month commercial season closure, justifying the move by closing The Edges district.
That's right--Gulf commercial fishers can land grouper, smaller ones, too, while sportsmen may not. On and on it goes.
Where YOU Can't Fish
Madison/Swanson Reserve: Closed to all fishing Nov. 1-Apr. 30. Surface trolling allowed May 1-Oct. 31.
GULF WATERS Rec. grouper season closed Feb.-Mar. in Limited summer red snapper season
The Edges: As of June 2009, no fishing Jan. 1-Apr. 30. Overlaps N. edge of Steamboat Lumps, same closure as Madison/Swanson.
Tortugas N. Ecological Zone: 90 square nautical miles closed to all fishing since 2001--plus 46 more added by National Park Service in 2007.
Tortugas S. Ecological Zone: 60 square nautical miles. Has been closed to all fishing since 2001.
North Florida MPA: 100 square miles, closed as of Jan. 2009. No bottom fishing, ever.
ATLANTIC WATERS Fed. waters grouper season Closed Jan-Apr. Vermilion Snapper closed Nov-Mar. Red snapper closure
Oculina Closed Area: 92 square miles closed to bottom fishing since 1994.
St. Lucie Hump MPA: 8 square miles closed year-round to bottom fishing as of Jan. 2009.
Western Sambos Reserve: No fishing of any kind, ever. Part of original Keys Sanctuary, 1997.
East Hump MPA: 50 square miles closed to bottom fishing, as of Jan. 2009.
For coordinates and updates, see www.gulfcouncil.org and www.safmc.net
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|Title Annotation:||On the Conservation Front: News and commentary from the environmental battlegrounds; Florida|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2009|
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