I am very thankful to Jack Curlett for all the time and effort he has provided to protect and preserve Biscayne National Park. I do take issue with his effort to add no-fishing marine reserves to the park plan.
They have not been added to the proposed plan nor should they. At the present time, I believe this would be overkill. Our Fish and Wildlife Commission has been responsible for the replenishment and stabilization of many species such as Goliath grouper, redfish, snook and trout without the use of no-fish zones. They have used scientific studies and considered the populations of many species and have insured sustainability by eliminating overfishing and ensuring escapement.
Techniques were used such as size limits, take limits and no-take seasons to protect our resource. At the very least perhaps no-take zones might be considered. Bottom fish survive very well when caught in relatively shallow waters.
Of course all of this is precluded by environmental and water quality issues combined with lack of enforcement.
What bothers me is that rules are passed because of problems with fisherpersons who do not follow the rules. Thus the people who do follow the rules will be more burdened while those who don’t will continue to plunder no matter what the rules. Also as my friend Flip Pallot has so aptly put it, “Lost liberties are rarely, if ever, regained.”
Chairman of the Herman Lucerne Memorial Foundation