Whether it’s the heart-pounding excitement and anticipation of the strike on a fly or a lure, or the thrill of a catch soon to be on your dinner table, the best place in the world to experience saltwater fishing opportunities is Florida — the fishing capital of the world.
The recent proposal to create saltwater game fish and sport fish designations in Florida is about highlighting some of the state’s most valuable recreational fish for today and future generations. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider adopting these designations at its Feb. 13 meeting in Orlando.
It’s important to keep this proposal in perspective. These designations, while telling the angling world that Florida is a premier sport-fishing destination, will also ensure that recreational anglers can enjoy a traditional game fish for their table at home, and our commercial fishermen will continue to provide our world-famous Florida fish to tables around the world.
By creating these designations, we will highlight our reputation, drawing visitors from across the globe to our diverse array of fishing opportunities. It shows the world that recreational fishing in Florida is important to all of us.
Recreational saltwater fishing in Florida already has a $5.7 billion economic impact and supports more than 54,000 jobs. Fishermen will travel the world for that one special catch, so doesn’t it make sense to invite them to Florida?
Adoption of these designations will allow the commission, in a separate process, to gather input from the public and our stakeholders to determine which species best fit in each category.
Did you know that, when it comes to fishing, Florida holds more world records than any other state or country? It’s just one more reason why we need to let the world know about Florida’s premier saltwater fish. Where else can you find great year-round fishing and such a wide array of species diversity?
Kenneth Wright, chairman, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee