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Florida Sportsman Leads Effort to Restore Mahi Fishery
Florida Sportsman magazine publisher Blair Wickstrom succinctly sums up the conservation message his magazine and readers are espousing: “We demand that the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council institute new conservation measures for dolphin (mahi) NOW.”
Wickstrom and Florida Sportsman magazine are spearheading an awareness campaign that includes a petition, an op-ed column and another story in upcoming issues, as well as online features and a social media campaign supporting conservation efforts to aid one of Florida’s most popular recreational fish. Wickstrom goes on to report the issues facing mahi are widely recognized among many staff, Advisory Panel members and Council members within the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, yet the only change on the horizon for dolphin is reducing the boat limit from 60 to 54. A reduction of six fish.
“It’s time for action,” Wickstrom exclaims. “We, the recreational angler, need to be heard if we want to – expect to – catch a dolphin [mahi] on future offshore trips.”
Anglers are advocating and demanding a cut back in vessel limits immediately. They’re also asking the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and the state of Florida, to reduce the number of fish they’re allowed to catch. Currently, commercial fishing boats are allowed unlimited quantities.
For nearly 20 years, efforts by recreational anglers, and even the Council have tried, unsuccessfully, to put daily commercial trip limits in place. In 2004, the Council passed a 3,000-pound trip limit, only to have the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) throw out the limit based on the assertion that dolphins were only a bycatch. The Council tried again in 2016 and 2020 to no avail.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council headquartered in Charleston, S.C., is responsible for the conservation and management of fish stocks within the federal 200-mile limit of the Atlantic off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida to Key West.
“Clearly, something needs to be done and quick,” Wickstrom continues. “The dolphinfish [mahi-mahi] is an essential gamefish, and is the foundation for all offshore fishing that helps drive tourism efforts in Florida. Saltwater anglers in Florida alone provide an annual benefit of nearly $9 billion to the U.S. economy.”
To learn more about Florida Sportsman magazine and their conservation efforts visit: https://www.floridasportsman.com/editorial/florida-sportsman-conservation-record/397217
About Outdoor Sportsman Group Publishing: As a premier destination for the most avid outdoors enthusiasts, Outdoor Sportsman Group’s publishing division is widely recognized for its strong special-interest multichannel brands, including Guns & Ammo, Game & Fish, Petersen’s HUNTING, In-Fisherman and 11 other leading magazines that reach more than 28 million readers. Outdoor Sportsman Group’s network of websites, including OutdoorChannelPlus.com, BassFan.com, Outdoorchannel.com, Sportsmanchannel.com and WFN.com, attracts more than 78 million annual unique visitors, and OSG TV produces hundreds of TV episodes of original branded hunting, sport shooting and fishing programming that airs on Outdoor Sportsman Group’s broadcast entities. Visit http://outdoorsg.com for more information. #MyOutdoorTV
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