MARCH 15, 2019

Florida Commercial Fishers Sue to Overturn Inshore Gill Net Ban

In November of 1994, an overwhelming 72% of Florida voters said yes to a constitutional amendment limiting marine net fishing. The amendment includes a prohibition on the use of gill and entangling nets in all state waters. Although the restrictions have been in place for twenty-five years, the commercial netting industry refuses to accept the legal reality that the constitutional prohibition on gill nets means no gill nets.

Recently, the Wakulla County plantiff filed yet another lawsuit against the State of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to weaken or eliminate the constitutional prohibition on gill and entangling nets. This lawsuit alleges that the FWC has refused to promulgate rules in accordance with its statutory authority. The suit further alleges that FWC rules adopted prior to July 9, 2018, are illegal and unenforceable. The plaintiff's complaint challenges rules relating to, but not limited to, statewide net specifications, carriage of proscribed nets, longlines in state waters, and gear specifications for the Panhandle region.

CCA is following the case closely. As always, we stand ready to defend Florida’s net ban at all cost. The amended complaint has been filed in the Leon County Circuit Court with no proposed hearing date at this time. CCA Florida will fully support what it expects to be a vigorous defense from the FWC and will keep our membership apprised of activities in the suit.

Thank you for your interest and commitment to conservation. Please contact me with questions.

Trip Aukeman

CCA Florida, Director of Advocacy