Alert - Biscayne National Park: Elimination of Spear Fishing and Lobster Mini-Season
Friday, July 26, 2019
You may be aware that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is proposing a Fisheries Management Plan for Biscayne National Park in South Florida. On July 18, FWC staff introduced two recommended diving-related regulations as part of their proposed Plan; under this plan FWC recommended that spear fishing and the two-day lobster mini-season be eliminated in the Park.
IMPORTANTLY, FWC HAS NO DATA WITHIN THEIR 2019 PLAN TO CORROBORATE THE NEED FOR RESTRICTING EITHER SPEAR FISHING OR THE TWO-DAY LOBSTER MINI-SEASON.
Most troubling, the FWC plan continues to permit hook and line and commercial fishing, and trapping lobsters in the Park, while prohibiting divers from spear fishing and eliminating the two-day lobster mini-season for divers.
FWC will hold three public "workshops" in early August to obtain public input on this issue. It is critical that diving professionals and divers attend these meetings to provide comments to FWC in favor of allowing these activities to continue in Biscayne National Park. The meetings are being held over the following dates and in the locations listed below (all meetings begin at 6:00 PM):
- August 6: Coral Gables, Newman Alumni Center, University of Miami, 6200 San Amaro Drive.
- August 7: Florida City, City Hall, 404 W. Palm Drive.
- August 8: Key Largo, Murray E. Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Highway.
If divers do not appear at these hearings in opposition to this effort, FWC will assume there is no opposition to their ideas of restricting traditional scuba diving activities.
DEMA has provided written comments to FWC regarding their Fisheries Management Plan and the elimination of spear fishing and the lobster mini-season. Comments can be found here.
Please plan to attend one of the Public Workshops in August. Anyone who is unable to participate in the meetings scheduled in August may submit comments in writing to Commissioners@MyFWC.com.