Ask your Members of Congress to help stop unwarranted closures to fishing

The Situation

National Park Service officials at Biscayne National Park recently released a draft General Management Plan (GMP) which, despite opposition from numerous stakeholders and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), proposes to close some of the park’s most popular and productive reefs to all fishing.

Park managers favor a plan that would establish a 10,522-acre marine reserve – or no-fishing zone – and several “no combustion engine zones” which act as de facto no-fishing zones because their large size renders most of the waters inaccessible.

Park Officials Shun the FWC

The GMP is intended to serve as a framework to help manage park visitors and facilities development for the next 15 to 20 years. Management of the park’s fish and aquatic resources falls under a separate, but complimentary, Fishery Management Plan, which is defined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the National Park Service and the commission. In the MOU, the FWC states that marine reserves are overly restrictive and that less restrictive management measures should be implemented in the park.

Park officials are arguing that the MOU does not apply to the park’s GMP, even though marine reserves and other components of the draft GMP clearly affect fish and aquatic resource activities. This demonstrates the park’s obvious intent to circumvent its MOU with the FWC and disregard the input from thousands of conservation-minded anglers who participated in the public comment sessions and user group discussions on both the Fishery Management Plan and the GMP.

Take Action Now!

Although the comment period for the draft GMP recently closed, you can still take action to help bring common sense back into the management of Biscayne National Park. Send a message to Senators Nelson and Rubio and your Representative urging them to take action to stop the National Park Service from unnecessarily closing Florida’s waters to anglers like you.

Logo courtesy KeepAmericaFishing

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