Catch and Release Florida Bonefish

Some fights should be easier than they end up being.  In Florida, the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust is trying to make bonefish a catch and release only species (they are also trying to get permit to be catch and release only).  In Hawaii there is a long cultural history of eating bonefish (O’io), but the cultural depths of that practice in Florida are as shallow as the flats where these magnificent fish are found.

We know a few things about bonefish in Florida…

  • They are big
  • There are about 300k of them in Florida waters
  • That number is a fraction of the bonefish population of 30 years ago
  • A single bonefish contributes about $3,600 per year to Florida’s economy and about $75,000 over its lifespan.

So, the importance of bonefish minus the cultural weight of the fish should make this pretty easy… right?  Maybe, maybe not.

I read in the minutes (page 29) of one meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where the Coastal Conservation Association Florida took the bold position of opposing any change to size, bag or gear restrictions and also opposed catch & release for both bonefish and permit.  They also opposed a tagging program.  Ah… with friends like these, Florida’s remaining bonefish may want to slide down to Belize, where both permit and bonefish are protected species and catch and release only.

To help the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust out, check out their page about making bones C&R in Florida and let your voice be heard.  Let’s not be out-conserved by Belize.  Come on folks.

lease support BTT’s effort to make bonefish catch and release in Florida by contacting the Commissioners and voicing your support.  You can contact them by email (link to email not working) or by mail at the address below:Mr. Rodney Barreto
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Farris Bryant Building
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

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