FWC expands effort to ensure Florida is the undisputed ‘Bass Fishing Capital of the World’
The seven-member Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is appointed to staggered terms by the governor and meets five times a year to hear staff reports, consider rule proposals, and conduct other Commission business. Under Florida’s Constitution, we enact rules and regulations regarding the state’s fish and wildlife resources and help staff achieve their mission of managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.
According to the latest National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (2011), Florida continues to provide more hours of recreational freshwater fishing enjoyment than any other state (25.7 million; Texas, the next highest, had 22.6 million). Overall (freshwater and saltwater), Florida ranked No. 1 with 3.1 million anglers (No. 2 New York had 1.9 million), and total expenditures of $5 billion (No. 2 New York spent $2.7 billion). Florida’s role as the fishing destination for travelers was also overwhelmingly reaffirmed, with 1.2 million nonresident anglers visiting the state (No. 2 Michigan had 347,000). The ripple effect of these dollars was an $8.7 billion economic impact that supported 80,211 jobs in Florida.
During 2012–13, FWC staff in the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management have moved forward aggressively to implement the Florida Black Bass Management Plan (BBMP), which we approved following scientific review and citizen input. As you’ve seen, Florida already is the “Fishing Capital of the World.” Now, we look forward to working with stakeholders to document that Florida is also the undisputed “Bass Fishing Capital of the World.” The BBMP identified four main areas of focus: New Opportunities, Habitat Management, Fish Management and People Management. Progress has been made in each area. You can learn more details on the MyFWC.com/Fishing website (select Black Bass Management, or Fish Busters’ Bulletins to learn more), and be sure to read the Black Bass article in this guide.
You can learn more not only about mandatory freshwater fishing regulations in this publication but also about our management philosophies, funding for conservation (largely through fishing license sales and grants from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration program), angler recognition programs and fishing tips.
A crucial new program that benefits the resource, you the user and the economy is TrophyCatch. This angler conservation/reward program rewards anglers for recycling bass heavier than 8 pounds, after properly documenting their catch and release. Visit TrophyCatchFlorida.com .
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.