As the 2012 fishing year closes, I’d like to take this opportunity to look back and thank everyone for their support and celebrations honoring the 75th anniversary of Sport Fish Restoration Program. I’d also like to thank you, Florida’s resident and visitor anglers. Funded by your purchases of tackle, motorboat fuels and fishing tackle, the Sport Fish Restoration Program is able to create future fishing and boating opportunities. In Florida, about $13 million of these funds are used annually to help support research, fish stock enhancement and artificial reefs. The FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management Outreach and Education subsection uses these funds to reach out to youth, women and first time and experienced anglers through fishing related literature and statewide outreach and education programs. Their goal is to create ethical anglers who fish with sustainability in mind and anglers that are actively engaged in the management of marine fisheries resources. FWC’s youth fishing programs are a great way to introduce kids to the lifetime sport of saltwater fishing.
FWC is moving youth conservation programming to the forefront with their new initiative, the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network.FYCCN provides a statewide network of sustainable places where youth and their families can participate in outdoor activities and safely share experiences that inspire lifelong support of fish and wildlife conservation. FYCCN is dedicated to “Creating the Next Generation that Cares!” by encouraging children to put down their electronic devices and head outdoors. To learn more about the program, visit FYCCN.org.
A Florida resident since 1962, my own journey as a saltwater angler started in the early 1970s with a 22 foot Mako. I couldn’t get into shallow water, and I always wondered what those people were doing in those small johnboats way over on the flats, where I couldn’t see, let alone go. In the 80s, I finally got a flats boat. Today, fly fishing is my favorite. I’ve fished with Charlie Smith, the iconic angler who inspired the first fly for targeting bonefish, the Crazy Charlie; Capt. Nat Ragland, inventor of a fly called the Puff; and Capt. Rick Murphy, host of “Sportsman’s Adventures.”
When I’m not out fishing, I’m excited to serve as a member of the FWC Commission. I’ve been on the board since August 2007 and this year I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve as your chairman. As we move forward into 2013, I look forward to working with you on marine fisheries and other FWC issues, balancing the needs of the fish with the wants of the fishers.
Chairman, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.