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BHB collection/protection discussion

Discussion in 'Florida' started by dumpsterDiver, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    so any progress?
  2. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida, USA
    I have finished what I could do. There is a distinction between recreational and commercial collecting. Under the parks ordinance, no commercial activity is allowed and that would include collecting fish for sale. There is nothing in the ordinance that addressed recreational collecting. Nor could I locate any rules of the Parks Department regulating collecting (they have the power to issue rules, but it seems they have not done so). My independent conclusion is that there are no formal protections in place for BHB except the commercial ban and whatever regulations the FFWCC have in place.

    I also received the following email from Commissioner Karen Marcus, which I reproduce in full:

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Karen Marcus <KMarcus@pbcgov.org>
    To: guyharrisonphoto <guyharrisonphoto@aol.com>
    Sent: Thu, Jul 7, 2011 10:04 am
    Subject: RE: Phil Foster Park/Blue Heron Bridge: Fish Collecting
    Allowed by Divers?

    Dear Mr. Harrison:

    I'd like to acknowledge and thank you for your recent e-mail regarding
    regulations on the collecting of tropical fish at the Phil Foster
    Park/Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge area.

    The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department strongly
    discourages the taking of tropical fish from this area and we are
    working to better educate the public to "enjoy the area and leave it
    for others to enjoy". Currently there are no local regulations against
    recreational harvesting of tropical fish. However, you must have the
    proper salt water fishing license and must follow the regulations
    established by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
    These regulations are inclusive of the limits on the various species
    that can be taken and the means with which they can be harvested. The
    County Parks and Recreation Department neither owns nor has management
    rights for most of the submerged area around the bridge. We do not
    allow knives or spear guns to capture fish in the park waters so spear
    fishing in this area is not permitted. No commercial activity is
    permissible within park property unless authorized by the Department

    I hope this information is helpful and if I can be of further
    assistance, please don't hesitate to contact my office.


    Karen T. Marcus, Chair
    Board of County Commissioners

    -----Original Message-----
    From: guyharrisonphoto@aol.com [mailto:guyharrisonphoto@aol.com]
    Sent: Monday, June 27, 2011 1:38 PM
    To: Karen Marcus
    Subject: Phil Foster Park/Blue Heron Bridge: Fish Collecting Allowed by

    Hello Commissioner Marcus,

    I have been trying to find out whether there are any regulations
    regarding tropical fish collecting at the Blue Heron Bridge or Phil
    Foster Park. There is an active disagreement going on now among the
    diving community as to whether it is actually a "no take zone" or not.
    The majority of divers seem to believe it is a protected area, but
    several amateur and and commercial collectors and spearfishermen claim
    that there is really no such law and they have the right to collect (or
    spearfish). Apparently, various county employees have given various
    different responses when asked. No one has found a definitive answer
    so far.

    I don't want to say what side of the issue that I am on, but I made a
    promise to try to find the answer as accurately as I could for all
    sides. I have heard that you sponsored a resolution for the no take
    zone. Since you seem to have been involved with this, can your staff
    point me to the right information? The PBC ordinances and resolutions
    are very hard to search online and no specific ordinance came up.
    There is also no way to search administrative regulations.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Guy Harrison

    Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not
    want your e-mail address released in response to a public records
    request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact
    this office by phone or in writing.
  3. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida, USA
    Also, I attach the most recent email, along with links to the internet pages that have the information:

    Dear Mr. Harrison:

    Thanks for your e-mail. County staff is working with the Florida Fish and
    Wildlife Conservation Commission to look at establishing new rules that would
    better protect the tropical fish in the Phil Foster Park/Blue Heron Bridge area.

    The County Parks and Recreation Department has provided information on their
    website that discusses the harvesting of tropical fish. I will forward that to
    you under separate cover.

    Thanks again for writing and I will keep you apprised of our progress.


    Karen T. Marcus, Chair
    Board of County Commissioners

    From: Deborah Thatcher
    Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 4:10 PM
    To: Eric Call; Jennifer Cirillo; Dave Lill; Craig Murphy
    Cc: Christopher Korbelak; Peggy Hawks; Cindy Defilippo
    Subject: Tropical fish harvesting info now posted

    Changes referencing harvesting of tropical fish at Phil Foster and Peanut Island Parks have been made and published for the following web pages:

    Harvesting of Tropical Fish

    New page with information, including link for FWC regulations

    Phil Foster Park
    Directory and Information

    Peanut Island Park


    Let me know if you&#8217;d find this information helpful on any other pages.


    Debbie Thatcher, Manager

    Public Information Services

    Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department

    jimw and DebbyDiver like this.
  4. Scott L

    Scott L Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Palm Beach, FL
  5. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida, USA
    I have done my part to find the answer even though it threatens the area I personally love so much.

    Can the recreational collecting community find it in itself the forebearance to leave this place in peace?
    danvolker and mntlblok like this.
  6. Zieg

    Zieg Solo Diver

  7. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Pompano Beach, FL
    I'm not sure that would be a reasonable request. I'm not into collecting tropicals but if I was I would rely on the law, if it isn't illegal I wouldn't care about the "feeling" of any individual or group.

    I'm not into collecting tropicals for a tank but I am into spearfishing, crustacean harvesting and in general getting food from the ocean. I follow the law and don't have to justify my position, however I do hear lots of negative comments even from seafood eaters.

    If there is enough desire to stop the collecting here, it should translate into a change of the law. Until then ...it is what it is, I find it silly to "Strongly discourage" any behavior by just saying so. If one is into having a fish tank I bet it can get very addictive, you may desire whatever but if the person is not braking the law what can you do? no aggression can be justified really. I put myself in the place of a collector and if anyone was to bother me in any way while I'm complying with the law I would not think twice to call the police and press charges.

    If anything, all the energy should be directed to change the law.
  8. Scott L

    Scott L Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Palm Beach, FL
    "The recreational harvesting of tropical fish from the Blue Heron Bridge area is strongly discouraged"

    There are many thing that are not against the law that can be highly discouraged. Picking on one of my sisters while growing-up is one such example. This thread is a warning to collectors that their actions will be met with lawful discouragement by those who frequent the area on a regular basis. Govern yourselves accordingly...
  9. aprxh

    aprxh Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Lake Worth, FL
    Thanks Guy.
  10. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    All I know is that I will be doing a lot of shooting of video of collectors in the park, along with stills. I would encourage as many other photographers as possible, to take many shots of collectors.....Now, for these shots to be good enough for me to use in the magazine, you will have to get VERY CLOSE to these collectors. You will need to get close to the subject they are trying to collect, and make sure you get a shot--even if it does not make the collector happy...Just view them as "photo-opportunities" that don't really have a say :)

    If a few dozen of you do this, we can probably enjoy this article alot :D

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