Florida gill netters challenge constitution

The ban has had a dramatic on nearshore fisheries...

Commercial fishermen in Wakulla County, Florida have filed suit against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in an attempt to use gill nets in state waters.

In 1994 the Florida Net Ban Amendment was passed by 72 percent of voters. The amendment included both a prohibition on the use of gill and entangling nets in all state waters and a size limit on other nets. The effects have been dramatic on nearshore fisheries. However after 15 years, there are still commercial fishermen who refuse to accept the reality that prohibition on gill nets is a constitutional reality

"Fifteen years ago Florida voters approved the Constitutional ban on gill nets but there are still netting interests that want to circumvent the clear intent of the amendment" said Ted Forsgren, CCA Florida Executive Director. "Once again we will be actively involved in the legal actions to protect the net ban amendment and support the FWC's implementing rules."
Since 1994, commercial interests brought lawsuits, sponsored attempts to create loopholes, and implemented various scams designed to circumvent the law. All have failed. The Florida Legislature, Florida Courts, and state agencies have upheld the clear intent of Florida voters.

"This latest lawsuit demonstrates why we need to maintain our legal warchest" said Forsgren. "We recently sent out our annual fundraising letter outlining the upcoming battles in 2011. Now we have another one to add to the list."

We urge our members to use that fundraising request to support our advocacy efforts and lawsuits. In addition, their contributions will be matched by Costa, one of our major supporters. For more information go to www.ccaflorida.org