Since it is Earthday and all… a video about saving the oceans, those little places that are special and far away and most folks don’t think of too much. Except us, anglers, we think about them all the time.
National Parks are created when a society decides it wants to protect its natural heritage. We’ve been very successful at this and our National Parks are crown jewels, special places.
I’m glad to see the Bahamas embracing what is special about their islands. I’m guessing that these parks would not ban bonefishing, as some of these parks are in the best stuff, especially the East End proposed park.
The site has videos you can watch with a bit more information about each proposed park. The East End park even has Flip catching a bonefish.
PS… If you’ve fished the East End, you’ve almost certainly been by the spot in the above picture. When I was last there I actually caught one or two bonefish right on this flat.
The Government of Belize through the Cabinet has approved the proposed expansion of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The decision taken to approve the expansion of the reserve was made on February 17th following the completion of minor adjustments made to the original draft proposal. The decision brings the project one step closer to fruition following years of lobbying by marine environmentalists on Ambergris Caye.
In this day and age of zero-sum politics where your victory is my loss, it is unusual to see something where everyone wins. The expansion of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the rare win-win. Maybe there are some developers out there who lose, but I really don’t mind that, not one bit.
Expanding protections around Ambergris is fantastic. It is a special place and deserves not to be exploited to death and then left to rot.
The people of Belize win by ensuring that their natural heritage stands a better shot at survival, of thriving. With that natural gift come the tourists and the jobs and livelihoods. And we, we the tourists, the anglers, we get a better shot at that grand slam and the peace and quiet and serenity that comes from the flats when it is just you, your guide and the wind.
Fantastic and congratulations to Belize!
If you’ve been down to Florida in the past many years and enjoyed some Conch Fritters, you’ve likely been enjoying Queen Conch from the Bahamas (or some other Caribbean nation). The Conch in Florida are off limits since the fishery collapsed in the 80’s.
The Bahamas seems a world apart from the massive population of Florida. There are, after all, only about 320,000, as compared to 19,500,000 over in Florida. It seems hard to imagine the conch fishery in the Bahamas could face a similar fate as that suffered by Florida. The Bahamas, in places, seems like endless habitat for conch (and bonefish).
Well… where is there is demand there is money and where there is money, people will chase it down, bulldozing anything in their way, even their own futures. It turns out there are some real concerns about the fate of Conch in the Bahamas.
The group Community Conch is hoping to address this issue.
You like conch fritters? Me too.
You know what you won’t have in the Keys? Conch fritters from conch caught in the Keys. Simply put, they’ve been over-fished to the brink of destruction and are now illegal to harvest in Florida waters.
I’m not from Florida… far from it. But it seems like things need to change if Florida is going to continue producing for all those tourists who come down to play. If you keep everything you catch, regardless of whether you plan on eating it or not, there will simply be fewer of those fish around the next time you head out on that charter boat.
It is pictures like this that have me scratching my head. You think they are going to eat all those smaller fish? I doubt it. If not… why kill them? Is gaffing the only way these guys know how to land a fish?
When I see that 84% of lobsters in the Keys are caught in their first year of life (they can live to be 20), I have to wonder how the fishery could possibly thrive under such pressure. Visually, it is striking to see all those lobster traps set out. Hundreds upon hundreds of them, one after another after another. You just look at it all and have to think “How is this sustainable?”
There seem to be PLENTY of mullet around and the big, migratory tarpon will come to eat the mullet, so maybe the tarpon won’t be impacted by the general catch & kill mentality. You have to think you can’t screw with things too much, though, right?
Am I wrong? Can we keep this up?
Did you miss it? On September 1st bonefish and tarpon were officially designated as Catch & Release species in Florida.
The bonefish tournament exemption permit is eliminated. This exemption allows tournament anglers with the proper permit to temporarily possess bonefish for transport to a tournament scale.
Well done Florida.
For Tarpon, it is a little more involved. A person can keep on tarpon when pursuing a world record, but they need a permit and the permit is only valid for a short period of time.
All harvest of tarpon will be eliminated, with the exception of the harvest or possession of a single tarpon when in pursuit of an International Game Fish Association record and in conjunction with a tarpon tag.
Hook and line only, and the rules extend to Federal waters. Ruling indeed.
Save Bristol Bay.
Save the Tarpon.
Save the Bluefin Tuna.
Save the Grouper.
Save the Sharks.
It is easy to get “Save-the” fatigue. Everywhere there are threats. Everywhere there is someone crying out for help to save something they love or need or value.
And it is all true. It is all under threat. Everywhere, it seems.
A friend mentions having bluefin tuna at a sushi place. A friend says he loves bbq’ing salmon. Shark is on the menu.
It is hard to care about all this stuff and to walk through life without burning bridges and fine dining establishments. I’m not sure what the answer is, really. This isn’t a post about answers. I’m just wondering if A) it’s always been like this. B) it’s getting worse. C) where it all ends.
TED… hope you have some answers.
Let me be clear… I don’t intend to give the “other side” equal time on this blog. I think spear fishing tarpon is wrong and I’m not willing to indulge the moral relativism they’d like to engage in.
I’m also glad to see that Fly Life Magazine isn’t ready to let it drop either.
I’m not against spear fishing. I’m against the bravado fueled killing-for-the-sake-of-killing exhibited by these guys.
They say “thousands of tarpon are killed by fly and conventional anglers every year by fighting fish to exhaustion or by inadvertently feeding the fish to sharks who are lurking in the shadows. All that is wrong and we only kill a few tarpon so you guys need to deal with the non-spear fishing tarpon fishery problems before you come and talk to us about killing only a few fish.”
This argument is, pardon my French, un sac de merde.
It is like saying “You don’t like me shooting dogs for fun? Well, thousands of dogs are killed every year by motorists on roads all over the country and we only kill a few dozen dogs. You need to deal with your dog-running-over problem before you come and talk to us about killing only a few dogs.”
Their argument also ignores the fact that most fly anglers are extremely opposed to things like the PTTS that Save the Tarpon is working against so tirelessly. They also ignore the new tarpon regs that look like they are coming down, pushed by fly anglers and legit conservation organizations like the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (which, I’d add, does a heck of a lot of research and doesn’t need to get spear caught tarpon to do it).
This appears to be at least some of the research done by Dr. Stein. The study cites three tarpon caught by the spear fishing club, but there are sure more than three tarpon kills in evidence from the various pics around the web of various Hell Diver members.
This just has to stop.
I’ve hears some talk recently about there being fewer bonefish in Florida these days.
The past is always better, right? But this isn’t 20 years ago past, this is, like, three years ago past.
Back not too long ago things got kind of cold in Florida. Bonefish, tarpon, snook… these fish don’t like cold water. In fact… they die.
The Florida Sportsman recently ran a story about what the guides are seeing on the FL flats.
Captain Lain Goodwin of Key Largo noted that effects of the frontal blasts varied from area to area. “After the cold snaps in 2010 I did notice a major decline,” said Goodwin. “I’d usually see from 20 to even 100 bones on a half-day trip, but now I’m lucky to find 10 to 20 on a good day. And yet on other flats in close proximity to Largo Sound, the bonefish population has remained steady.”