fishing

Jenny Staletovich / WLRN

New fishing rules intended to help revive grouper, snapper and other popular fish in Biscayne National Park start July 1.

The rules represent a five-year struggle to tighten fishing in the busy park next to urban, bustling Miami, but are far less strict than a management plan first proposed by national park officials. That 2015 plan called for a 10,500-acre preserve around fragile reefs that outlawed fishing, except for invasive lionfish.

Richard Elzey/Flickr

As the Florida Keys look to reopen to tourists June 1, some on the island chain are already worried about one of the summer's biggest events — the recreational mini-season for spiny lobster.

A tall woman with a strong gaze is standing by the shores of Lake Victoria. It's a busy morning. Boats are coming in full of fish: Nile perch, catfish, tiny silvery fish called omena — aka the Lake Victoria sardine.

She has her eye on one boat in particular. Like the others, it's made of wood. It's about 30 feet long. And it has a majestic white sail.

"That is the first boat which we started with for No Sex For Fish," she says.

Like snowbirds, there's another group that's moving the Florida for the winter: sharks.

Tim Maddock / Courtesy

A group of South Florida fishermen set sail on their boat on the first Friday after Hurricane Dorian made a direct hit on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama as a Category 5 storm.

"As soon as the smoke cleared we were out of here," said Tim Maddock, one of the fishermen.

The slow-moving hurricane made landfall more than a week ago and it was the most powerful storm on record to strike the Bahamas. The storm left many with nothing.

Ocean-dwelling sharks often like to hang out in areas that also get frequented by industrial fishing ships, which puts them at grave risk of being caught either for food or as bycatch.

That's according to a new study in the journal Nature that mapped the activity of 23 shark species and fishing vessels around the globe.

While oil companies built seawalls and elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level, they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere.

That's what citizens and local governments across the United States are asserting in lawsuits against oil, gas, and coal companies. Plaintiffs in the cases have alleged that fossil fuel producers knowingly subjected the entire planet and future generations to the dire consequences of their actions.

The jury is in on marine reserves: They work. Research has repeatedly shown that fish numbers quickly climb following well-enforced fishing bans, creating tangible benefits for fishers who work the surrounding waters. In fact, many experts believe fishing will only be sustainable if marine reserves are expanded significantly.

That's why some activists and scientists are now discussing the idea of creating a marine reserve so big it would cover most of the ocean. Specifically, they want fishing banned in international waters.

Florida wildlife officials have changed fishing rules for snook and redfish in areas hit hard by a devastating red tide just ahead of the opening of the popular snook season.

Suzana Blake / NOAA Fisheries

Hurricane Irma cost Florida's fishing industries almost $200 million, according to a damage assessment released by the state and federal governments.

The oceans are getting warmer and fish are noticing. Many that live along U.S. coastlines are moving to cooler water. New research predicts that will continue, with potentially serious consequences for the fishing industry.

Courtesy Bob Branham

One of Miami Beach's cool new restaurants, a laid-back fish shack named for Biscayne Bay's iconic stilt houses, aims to serve fish so fresh that its celebrity chefs claim much of the catch comes from the docks across the street.

Just one problem: A trophy fish that sport fishermen have long fought to protect wound up on the menu.

Florida Keys--Public Libraries

There will be no harvesting of Goliath Grouper in Florida, for now.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Seafood is a big part of South Florida’s culinary scene and its culture. Conch, snapper, mahi mahi, grouper, marlin and stone crab -- they have places in our hearts, as well as on our plates.

Florida Keys--Public Libraries

Should Florida allow harvesting of goliath grouper?

That is the question being discussed at 15 public workshops around the state.

The mammoth fish can grow to the size of a grizzly bear. What’s not been big about goliath grouper are their numbers: Fisheries dwindled due to overfishing in the 80s. In 1990, harvest of goliath grouper was prohibited in Florida state waters and Gulf and South Atlantic federal waters.

But, a recent federal stock assessment showed goliath groupers numbers on the rise South Florida waters.

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