Those keeping an eye on General Management Plan changes coming to Biscayne National Park have foreseen this coming. The current GMP reflects on enforcing areas like the Featherbeds and Jones Lagoon No Motor Zones (my only question is whether these are no entry with a motor on your transom or you may enter and pole as with pole/troll zones) as well as making many areas near the west side of the bay idle zones. There is a stretch of reef just offshore of Elliot Key that will be made Marine Reserve Zones (my take on this is no fishing, no access for fisherman).
I attended a conference call set up by the ASA (American Sportfishing Association) this afternoon to listen in on where some of the folks in our industry stand on the GMP closures proposed in Biscayne National Park. I especially noted the statements made by representatives from both Navionics and Florida Sportsman Magazine.
Points discussed I noted most:
1. Navionics made a statement asking the ASA to become more proactive rather then reactive.
2. Florida Sportsman Magazine representatives touched on the fact that there may be a commercial benefiting aspect to the closure biased to favor those in the diving/snorkeling industry. This closure would not benefit recreational anglers but the recreational divers (not spearfishers) could ultimately see this benefiting them. Was there somebody on that side lobbying to get the closure?
3. ASA pushes those imposing the new GMP to show us supporting science to prove how the closures will be effective (currently there is a lack of science to support this effort’s success).
Either argument you present, no matter which side you stand on and whether you are pro or against the imminent changes coming to our Biscayne Bay, it is happening. Several questions arise in my mind. I wonder if National park service has planned more stringent and more present enforcement for these new laws. Will this truly be beneficial? Is this the start of even more proposed closures to come? These are points we need to consider.