In Case You Missed It - July 31, 2015 News

Our weekly coverage of the latest industry news, conservation notices and more.

biscayne nat’l park
Legislation Introduced to Preserve Fishing Access in Biscayne National Park
On the heels of the recent announcement to close over 10,000 acres of Biscayne National Park to fishing, a coalition of recreational fishing and boating organizations praised the introduction of a bipartisan bill, H.R. 3310, that will help stop this and similar unwarranted fishing closures from occurring. Led by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), and 28 other original sponsors, the “Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act” requires the National Park Service and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to have approval from state fish and wildlife agencies before closing state waters to recreational or commercial fishing. “Probably the most concerning aspect of the Biscayne National Park marine reserve decision is the total disregard for the fisheries management expertise of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “The states are responsible for nearly all of our nation’s saltwater fisheries management successes. This legislative safeguard will prevent the federal government from ignoring the fisheries management expertise of the states in these types of situations.” Throughout the development of the General Management Plan for Biscayne National Park, through which the marine reserve is being implemented, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided detailed recommendations to improve the condition of the fisheries resources in the park. The Commission has continually expressed its position that the proposed marine reserve is overly restrictive to the public; will not be biologically effective; and that less restrictive management tools can rebuild the park’s fisheries resources and conserve habitat. The recreational fishing and boating community has echoed these concerns, but nevertheless the National Park Service ultimately elected to close nearly 40 percent of the park’s reef tract to fishing. “The Congressional leaders who are sponsoring this bill are to be commended for this common sense approach to protect saltwater anglers from unwarranted access restrictions,” said Chris Horton, Fisheries Program director for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “The Biscayne National Park marine reserve is part of a concerning trend of closing marine areas without scientific basis or an understanding of the critical role anglers play in the economy and in funding conservation.” “Marine reserves are a tool in the fisheries management toolbox, but too often we see them promoted with questionable-at-best motivations,” said Jeff Miller, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association Florida’s Government Relations Committee. “This bill will ensure that Florida has a say in important fisheries management decisions in Biscayne National Park, including marine reserves, and that similar issues don’t arise in other parts of the state and country.” On Monday, August 3, the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Small Business will hold a joint hearing to explore the potential implications of lost access due to the Biscayne marine reserve. The hearing will begin at 10am EST and is being held at the William F. Dickinson Community Center in Homestead, Florida.Biscayne National Park
West Marine Launches Dog Days of Summer Photo Contest
West Marine, the world’s largest waterlife retailer, today announced its “Dog Days of Summer” social media contest. Starting August 1 and ending September 7, West Marine is honoring the salty sea dogs in our lives. For this contest, West Marine is looking for photos of dogs enjoying the breeze on the bow, taking a nap on the dock, playing in the waves or riding along on stand-up paddleboards. To enter, post photos through Instagram or Facebook at facebook.com/westmarine. The five winning entrants will each receive a $100 West Marine gift card that can be used to outfit a furry friend, a boat or the dog's best friend. Looking for inspiration? Visit westmarine.com or the Dog Days of Summer board at pinterest.com/westmarine. Contest Dates: Photo entries can be submitted between August 1 and September 7. Winners will be announced on September 9 at the westmarine.com/dogdaysofsummer website. Entry Process: Photos can be submitted through Instagram or Facebook. To enter on Facebook, post pictures as Public to www.facebook.com/WestMarine with hashtags #dogdaysofsummer and #westmarine. To enter on Instagram, tag uploaded photos to WestMarineInc, with hashtags #dogdaysofsummer #westmarine. Captions should include info on why the dog and their pet parent are in need of new gear to enjoy their waterlife. Judging Criteria: Photos can be funny or sentimental, and preference will be given to those taken on or near the water. The dog could be on a boat, walking along the beach or at a waterside restaurant. Or, even at West Marine! (Note: The dog in the photo doesn’t need to be owned by the entrant, but the entrant should have the rights to entered photos.) Winner Notification: Winners will be contacted via the social media channel which the photo was submitted to. Electronic gift card will be sent by email.
Yamaha Marine Launches “Fishing with Helm Master®” Video Series
Yamaha Marine Group announced today the introduction of a new series of videos – “Fishing with Helm Master” – that portrays the many real-world fishing applications and maneuvering capabilities of Helm Master, Yamaha’s fully integrated boat control system. In the first video, "Catching Bait on Structure," Yamaha Saltwater Pro and Captain George Mitchell demonstrates how Helm Master helps put you in position and keeps you there while fishing for bait near a buoy offshore. Videos can be viewed on YouTube.com at https://youtu.be/aQVDn8wOqHI and will also be available on http://yamahaoutboards.com/rigging/helm-master/overview.
New Dolphinfish Research Program Newsletter Out
Find out the latest about dolphin research and tag recover items, here.
Innovative Offshore Reefing Project Set To Go In Off Jupiter
Marine fisheries and recreational angling off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, are set to get a boost this summer with the placement of 40 artificial reef cells in 88 feet of water. The CCA Building Conservation Trust has contributed $25,000 to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation for the project, which will utilize innovative reefing materials to create a thriving new ecosystem. “It will be very difficult to tell that this is anything but a natural reef within a few short months of deployment,” said Sean Stone, executive director of BCT. “This is the kind of exciting project that we are targeting to enhance the local marine environment and expand opportunities for anglers and divers. We are very proud to be a part of this partnership.” The site for the project off Jupiter is currently flat, featureless sand plains near the existing Zion Train, Miss Jenny and ESSO Bonaire “Wreck Trek.” The new reef cells will rise up to eight feet off the sea floor and create interconnected cavities and surfaces exposed to sunlight and water current. The structures are designed to provide a specific habitat environment favored by a wide range of marine organisms so that where there is now only flat sand, a flourishing ecosystem will develop. “From that area of the Florida coast anglers in all kinds of boats target a wide range of pelagics – everything from sailfish to amberjack – so the reef has the potential to make a noticeable impact as a destination for divers and anglers,” said JD Dickenson, CCA Florida Habitat Committee chairman. “With the reef acting as refuge for forage fish, there is no telling what will come to make a home at the new reef.” The new reef site is expected to positively impact local economies by enticing anglers and divers who utilize local boat charters, hotels, restaurants and other amenities. According to Alan Richardson, chairman of the Organization for Artificial Reefs based in Tallahassee, Florida, for every dollar spent locally on an artificial reef, $138 comes back into local communities. In addition to the Building Conservation Trust, the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation is partnering on the $78,000 project with Palm Beach County, the Town of Jupiter, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation, Jupiter Dive Center, and REEF CELLS. Visit http://andrewredharrisfoundation.org for more information.