Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RECREATION Fishing Dilemma

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RECREATION Fishing Dilemma

Article excerpt

Local saltwater anglers are breathing a sigh of relief now that two Jacksonville reefs apparently will be dropped from a proposed list of protected areas. But that welcome news in no way ends the difficult task of determining how best to protect grouper and snapper species in a way that is least burdensome to recreational fishermen.

A federal council had wanted to ban fishing in 42 areas, 19 of them on Florida's east coast. A committee of the council recommended dropping Blackmar's Reef and Tanzler's Waters from the list last week, however. Another First Coast site, the Red Snapper Sink off St. Augustine, remains on the list in a modified form.

Reasonable actions to protect stocks of fish are welcome. But an advisory panel originally suggested a ban on fishing in 20 percent of federal waters off the South Atlantic coast. Even the council seems to have conceded that was excessive. Still, with such draconian measures being discussed, fishermen cannot be blamed for feeling uneasy.

Critics also argue that where fishing is restricted, it often is banned outright later. …

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