Biscayne National Park - Spearfishing and Lobster Mini-Season
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
You may be aware that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recently held a Public Meeting in Cape Canaveral, Florida on October 2nd and 3rd to present their recommendations on the disposition of diving activities in Biscayne National Park (BNP).
To date, FWC’s recommendations for Biscayne National Park have included prohibiting spear fishing on scuba or prohibiting trigger devices, and eliminating the two-day mini-lobster season in the Park. FWC introduced these two diving-related regulations as part of their Fisheries Management Plan for BNP.
The latest FWC staff recommendations include ALLOWING HOOK AND LINE FISHING while CLOSING THE LOBSTER MINI SEASON in some areas of BNP (page 11), and CLOSING SPEAR FISHING to anyone using scuba or other air delivery devices (page 13).
IMPORTANTLY, FWC HAS INCLUDED NO DATA IN THEIR PUBLISHED PLAN TO CORROBORATE THE NEED FOR RESTRICTING EITHER SPEAR FISHING OR THE TWO-DAY MINI-LOBSTER SEASON.
UNLIKE FOR DIVING, FWC HAS NO SPECIAL PLANS TO RESTRICT HOOK AND LINE FISHING ACTIVITIES. DEMA believes FWC sees this as an opportunity to target and restrict diving activities, while placing the burden on divers for reaching FWC’s goal of increasing the size and abundance of fishery species in the Park by 20%. Within their own presentation, FWC clearly states that the issues of management of the Park are related to (a) the Park’s proximity to urban areas, (b) reduced water quality, (c) marine debris, (d) vessel groundings and (e) fishing pressure. Fish size and species abundance in Biscayne National Park are not related to diving activities.
DEMA STRONGLY URGES YOU AND YOUR CUSTOMERS TO ATTEND ONE OR MORE OF THREE WORKSHOPS being hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC).
Please attend one of these workshops in person to ensure that Fish and Wildlife Commission Staff receive your input on these proposed fisheries regulations. Voice your concerns that diving restrictions are not warranted, and restrictions to spearfishing and the lobster mini season should only be enacted if similar restrictions are placed on hook and line fishing. IF DIVERS DO NOT ATTEND THESE MEETINGS, FWC WILL ASSUME THERE ARE NO OBJECTIONS TO THESE RESTRICTIONS. PLEASE ENCOURAGE ALL DIVERS & YOUR DIVING CUSTOMERS TO ATTEND!
Workshops are being held at the following locations. All workshops begin at 6:00 PM.
October 28: Murray Nelson Government Center
102050 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037
October 29: UF/IFAS Extension Miami‐Dade County
18710 SW 288th Street
Homestead, FL 33030
October 30: James L. Knight Center
400 SE 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33131
IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND AN IN‐PERSON WORKSHOP, PLEASE SUBMIT COMMENTS ONLINE BY VISITING WWW.MYFWC.COM/SALTWATERCOMMENTS OR EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS DIRECTLY TO FWC AT MARINE@FWC.COM.
DEMA has already provided a letter to FWC outlining our concerns. Please feel free to use DEMA's comments to assist in writing your own to the Commission.