November 22, 2004

Net Ban

More on the aftereffects of the Florida gill-net ban.

Since then, fishing in the Big Bend never has been better, says Scott Paterna, owner of Jerry's Bait and Tackle on the Woodville Highway in Wakulla County.

Plenty of Spanish and king mackerel are being caught between Dog Island and St. George Island off the Franklin County coast. People are catching five-pound sea trout that were unheard of a few years ago. And the big pompano, sheepshead, grouper and redfish also are plentiful.

Paterna said: "You have no idea how much our bay is flourishing."

Of course, it depends on who you ask.

Net fishermen dispute studies that suggest fish populations are improving since the net ban. They say fish populations weren't in trouble when the net ban was adopted, so they can't be recovering now.

The constitutional amendment - which many commercial fishermen refuse to call a "net ban" - won't help fish while the number of recreational anglers continues to increase, said Richard Van Munster, an outspoken commercial fisherman from Panacea.

They are the "major waster and overharvester of fish," Van Munster said.

Posted by Bigwig at November 22, 2004 10:01 PM | TrackBack
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"Pompano caught by commercial fishermen dropped by half after the net ban but increased by 378 percent for recreational fishermen."

While this sounds like recs must be catching cooler fulls on every trip. Consider this: If I used to catch 2 pompano per trip, my number of fish caught today would be 7.56 fish per trip (I think). Translates into a pretty good catch but nothing extraordinary. A 378% increase in zero or one isn't that much. Good start though! Also, is the increased catch due to less nets in the water(fish stocks increasing) or some other factor like more folks are now targeting and fishing for pompano? One thing that get's left out of most of these numbers are sizes. Has the average size of the fish increased to allow for breeding and reproduction? (See NC flounder management plans for a more complicated explaination!!)Once you get to that point, you have a building block on which fish populations are truely making progress and we all benefit, comms and recs.

Posted by: Mason at November 23, 2004 11:23 AM
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