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I am a commercial lobster/ marine life diver. I don't live in the keys, and have never seen a "castilla". I work hard for my money, and collect fish/lobster in an ethical manner. I don't see a problem with that. There are 1.4 million trap tags out there, scattered all over the seagrasses and reefs, you tell me who's doing the damage.
As for treating our fisheries like the Bahamas, if that means locals do whatever they want, fish trapping still exists, permits for Korean fishing boats issued, and hardly enforcing the few laws they have........you gotta be crazy. The only reason they have alot of fish over there is that they have thousands of square miles of reef compared to our strip of reef from shore out a few miles here on the east coast.
Why are our lobster numbers dwindling......is it because commercial divers take 'em from structures....or because mini-season wipes them out.....or beacuse trappers don't have a limit???? No, It's because all of our lobster come from lavea in florida bay and similar sanctuaries, and those larvea came form feeder reefs throughout the gulf of mexico, central and south America, and all of the Carribean. Lobster spend the first year of life floating around in the currents. Our shortage of bugs is a direct result of the lack of protection in other countries....unfortunately, there is little we can do about it except watch the divers in Belize and Ecuador deplete their own, and our lobster stocks.
Hope my rant shed some light for some of you.
Thanks for your input I like to hear both sides and I placed an apology to all of you honest commercial divers in Florida sportsman diving forum and I believe I also apologized in one of my replys here. If you were diving in the lower keys these structures would also be affecting you. Thats why your three repersentivites on the spiny lobster board are asking FWC to issue special permits to dive on illegal structures that were placed by a few law breaking members of your community. If casitas are not a problem in your county you must not live or dive in in Monroe county. Maybe we should be asking that commercial taking of lobster by diving stopped in Monroe county. But I am not sure this would work because these guys are so crooked the would smuggle them up to Dade or Collier county just like drugs so that would not stop them from placing more structures further out in the gulf. these illegal structures are really my main concern and I do believe traps cause damage but the lobster industry both commercially and recreationally is a vital resource for the Florida keys. Thanks again for your input and if you are on the florida sportsman forum I would appreciate your input on the diving and conservation threads I have placed there.
Here is a new heads up from the Spiny Lobster advisory Board. The commercial trappers due to their losses caused by the hurricanes during the 2005-2006 season. They are asking the FWC Commision to let them place their trapps on July 10, 2006 and start pulling on July 15, 2006. and leave the mini season and regular season start same as previous years for commercial and recreational divers.
If we don't write the FWC Commission and voice our concerns we will only have ourselves to blame.
If harvesting lobster on July 15, is not a conversation issue then open the season for everyone not just the trappers.
Please write with your concernes lets show the commission the trappers are the minority.
I am sorry for their losses, but every good businessman knows he needs to set aside monies from good years to offset the bad.
I am even more concerened about all those traps left out there killing fish and lobster. If FWC would require the use of habitat traps they would just be wooden or plastic caves.
I won't pretend that I read the whole thread but I have read the most recent posts. Recreational fishing and commercial fishing interests are the same. Those that want to stop fishing love when we blame each other. The anti-fishing groups win with every word we say bad about the other. We are one, we are fishermen and we should work together as our goal is to be able to fish. Commerical guys aren't the enemy, they are the other half of our resources in the fight to protect our rights to fish.
I am not against honest commercial interest. I am against preferential treatment at the expense of the Spiny Lobster future! If starting the season early for trappers will not endanger the species. Start the season for everybody commercial and recreational. If you plan to come to Florida and enjoy our diving and especially for spiny lobster please write to our FWC Commission and let them know how you feel. If I don't have their address posted in this thred go to myfwc.com if is a great sorce of info if you can figure out exactly what you want to look for. It includes both hunting and fishing for the Great State of Florida. Thanks for your input.