Florida has lost a vast amount of coastal habitat to development, altered water flows, and pollution from nutrient runoff and contaminants entering the watershed. The only way to protect and improve our fisheries is by conserving and restoring the habitat that remains. To do this, we must include Habitat in Marine Fisheries Management Plans.
Florida’s recreational and commercial fisheries generate more than $27 billion annually for Florida’s economy. These fisheries rely on healthy habitats
Habitat is not part of current fisheries management approaches, and fish populations can only be regulated using seasonal closures, slot limits and bag limits. Regulation alone cannot prevent further decline to our fisheries caused by habitat loss and degradation; a new approach is needed, one that makes habitat a central part of fisheries management.
By signing this petition, I express my support for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to collaborate with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust to create a new way to manage our fisheries that focuses on habitat. This includes habitat identification, habitat protection, habitat restoration, and incorporating habitat into fisheries management plans.