“Duke Energy is committed to environmental stewardship,” said Eric Latimer, Duke Energy Florida Mariculture Center Manager. “Fish mortalities associated with the current red tide bloom in southwest Florida have broad impacts, both to our state’s interconnected biological systems and to the people that make a living from and enjoy our natural resources. We are proud to play a small part in the solution by restocking fish that will contribute to the overall restoration of the affected areas.”
"We appreciate the valuable support from CCA Florida and Duke Energy in helping enhance our world class redfish fishery," said Eric Sutton, FWC Executive Director. "This team effort will benefit conservation, outdoor recreation and the state's economy in many ways."
In addition to the stocking enhancement initiative, CCA Florida and FWC are encouraging anglers to help all inshore populations by releasing their catch. This summer, CCA Florida launched the “Release Them For Tomorrow” campaign as a way to support several species’ growth through catch and release. “It’s going to take everyone doing their part to get our fisheries back to health,” stated Gorski. Anglers are encouraged to share the message by tagging their social media photos, comments and messages with the hashtag #ReleaseThemForTomorrow to show their support. Anglers can become engaged by joining CCA Florida at JoinCCA.org. For more information, visit the Facebook page or ccaflorida.org.
Angling community applauds legislation to deflate algal blooms
HR 6645 would reauthorize programs to assess and control damaging hypoxia events
Recreational anglers are lending their support to a bill that proposes to advance the scientific understanding of harmful algal blooms and improve methods to detect, monitor and assess the damage associated with such events. Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) has introduced HR 6645, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) of 2018, which would establish the Greater Everglades Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Assessment, and facilitate development of an action plan to address, mitigate and control future harmful blooms in this environmentally sensitive area.
“What is happening off the coast of Florida this year can only be described as a tragedy and has been devastating to our marine ecosystem,” said Brian Gorski, executive director of CCA Florida. “CCA Florida is pleased to support this legislation from Rep. Mast because we need to use every available tool at our disposal to control and prevent these kinds of ecological disasters in the future if at all possible.”
No more than two years after passage, HR 6645 calls for an inter-agency task force to develop and submit to Congress a plan for reducing, mitigating and controlling harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in the Greater Everglades Region and provide biennial progress reports on all activities undertaken to achieve the objectives of the plan. The bill also increases the annual reauthorization of appropriation for the National Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Program to $22 million.
“The only shortcoming to any plan that makes more resources available todayto address this problem is that Congress and the state didn’t do it 20 years ago,” said Gorski. “The water situation in Florida is a catastrophe and it has made it crystal clear how closely tied our economy and quality of life is to our marine environment. We are grateful to Rep. Mast for his efforts to get a handle on Florida’s water quality issues and we urge Congress to pass this legislation as quickly as possible.”
The full letter is below.
September 4, 2018
The Honorable Brian Mast
U.S. House of Representatives
2182 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Mast:
On behalf of the millions of Americans who enjoy recreational fishing and boating and the tens of thousands of businesses they support, we are writing to express our strong support for H.R. 6645, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) of 2018.
Your legislation, as well as H.R. 4417, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017, is critically important to advancing the scientific understanding and ability to detect, monitor, assess, and predict harmful algal blooms (HABs).As we’ve recently witnessed in South Florida, the Great Lakes and many other parts of the country, HABs have a severe impact on fish populations, fisheries habitats and even human health. Not only are entire ecosystems suffering as a result, but the economic losses continue to mount as local businesses that depend on access to healthy aquatic systems are negatively impacted as well.
Building upon action plans required in the previous reauthorization of HABHRCA, this bill recognizes the ongoing frequency and severity of HABs in South Florida by establishing the Greater Everglades Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Assessment and the subsequent development of an action plan to address, mitigate and control future HABs in this environmentally important area.
In addition to South Florida, these events gravely impact freshwater habitats in rivers and lakes throughout the country, especially in the Great Lakes region. Thus, we are pleased to see your bill reauthorize the National Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Program and the federal interagency working group, which would allow the group to continue building upon its success of developing and implementing action plans to address harmful algal blooms.
Once again, thank you for your efforts on this important issue, and we appreciate your continued leadership in support of clean water and healthy fisheries. We look forward to working with you to ensure H.R. 6645’s passage.
American Sportfishing Association
Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S)
Center for Sportfishing Policy
Coastal Conservation Association
Coastal Conservation Association Florida
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Florida Guides Association
Future Angler Foundation
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation
International Game Fish Association
Jersey Coast Anglers Association
Kenai River Sportfishing Association
Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Professional Anglers Association
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association Recreational Fishing Alliance
Snook and Gamefish Foundation
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
150-Foot Steel Vessel Deployed in Volusia County
New Reef the Result of Several Partnerships
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Florida – (June 27, 2018) –On Saturday, June 23, 2018, the Lady Philomena, a 150-foot steel vessel was deployed in 80 feet of water at artificial reef site 12, roughly nine miles offshore the Ponce de Leon Inlet.
This project was made possible through the funding partnerships of Volusia County, Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida) and CCA’s National Habitat Program, the Building Conservation Trust (BCT). BCT received a grant from the FishAmerica Foundation, the conservation funding arm of the American Sportfishing Association, and the Brunswick Public Foundation, which helped ensure the project’s success.
“As the FishAmerica Foundation celebrates 35 years of teaming with local groups to enhance fisheries and water quality, there could be no better effort to exemplify the accomplishments that can be made than participating in the deployment of the Lady Philomena in conjunction with CCA Florida and BCT,” remarked Andrew Loftus, grant manager for the FishAmerica Foundation. “The benefits of this project to the environment, economy and sport fishing will grow each year as the reef ecosystem develops.”
“Meaningful partnerships are the reason we are able to do great marine habitat work in Florida and throughout the United States,” said John Carlson, chairman of the Building Conservation Trust. “The dedication of like-minded organizations demonstrates the power of coming together to benefit marine life and the local community.”
The 90-foot Tug Everglades was also placed alongside the Lady Philomena during last week’s deployment. The vessels are intact and upright on the seabed in very close proximity to one another and will make excellent fishing and diving sites.
The Lady Philomena was forfeited to the U.S. Customs in Miami, after having been seized with contraband. The vessel was deployed in an established artificial reef system consisting of clean concrete culverts, structures and large concrete bridge components. The deployment of the Lady Philomena will enhance this underwater community, attracting marine life such as fish, shrimp and crabs. Artificial reefs also boost local economies through an increase in sport fishing, tourism and patronage in small businesses. The Volusia County artificial reef system is visited by an estimated 50,000 vessels annually and experiences high visitation by recreational anglers and divers.
The reef started generating local excitement last fall, when Volusia County hosted a two-day viewing party that enabled visitors the opportunity to tour the ship.
“The deployment of the Lady Philomena has been widely anticipated, and it is so gratifying to have seen the project’s completion, from start to finish,” said Brian Gorski, executive director of CCA Florida. “Projects like this really bring nearby residents together and educate the public of the value of marine habitat conservation. We are so grateful for our many strong partnerships, as well as the outpouring of support from the local community.”
June 26, 2018 - A Tribute to Karl Wickstrom, Florida Sportsman founder and champion of angler rights
The entire team at CCA Florida, our members and many others in the industry, are mourning the passing of Karl Wickstrom, 82, founder of Florida Sportsman and a life-long advocate for recreational angling. The following tribute is from our friends at Florida Sportsman.
“No individual has done more in the past 50 years for the health of our fisheries than Karl Wickstrom,” said Congressman Charlie Crist(D-FL 13thDistrict) and former Florida governor. “Someone whose journalism informed and created a vibrant community that will continue to defend and expand sustainable fishing practices and the protection of our environment for decades to come.”
Born 1935 in Rock Island, Illinois, Wickstrom earned a journalism degree from the University of Florida at Gainesville and soon after started his career as a sports reporter. In 1960, he moved to Miami to work for the Miami Heraldas an investigative journalist, winning state and national awards for incisive reporting on corruption in public affairs. In 1969, he founded Florida Sportsman(first titled Florida and Tropic Sportsman), engaging Vic Dunaway, at the time a well-known outdoors writer at the Herald, to lead editorial efforts at the new magazine. Florida Sportsmanquickly grew to become the leading source for information on Florida’s developing boating and fishing interests and importantly, the voice of the state’s recreational anglers and hunters on issues of access, management and environmental causes. Florida Sportsmancelebrates its 50thanniversary in 2019.
Through the decades as publisher of Florida Sportsman, Wickstrom fought and won a number of legal changes to benefit Florida marine resources and recreational angling, garnering numerous awards along the way. Wickstrom was co-founder of the Florida Conservation Association in 1984, now Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). He was a benefactor of many other marine resource organizations, including The Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart, the Rivers Coalition, The Martin County Anglers Club (which named the Wickstrom Reef after him) and a long list of others. His magazine voiced the concerns of recreational interests in countless disputes with fishery managers over allocations and access to waters, often winning decisions in the court of public opinion with his editorials in the magazine.
Wickstrom also worked to achieve gamefish status for redfish, ending commercial sale of the species in the state, and fought ceaselessly for the rights of recreational anglers subject to management policies that often favored commercial fishing interests.
“Karl was a great man and an equally great friend. He gave an incredible amount of energy to Coastal Conservation Association Florida,” said Ted Forsgren, Special Advisor to CCA. “We went through so many battles over the past 35 years that I can hardly list them. Some of the big issues included gamefish status for redfish, blending two agencies into one constitutional fish and wildlife commission and banning fish traps in federal waters. And of course, the constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of gill and entanglement nets, the ‘mother of all fishing wars,’ as one of the commercial fishing lobbyists called it.”
That battle was one of Wickstrom’s biggest victories in the name of marine resources and recreational angling. It came in the early 1990s, when he mounted the Save Our Sealife Initiative to end the destructive use of gillnets in Florida waters. The movement came to be known as the net ban, and Wickstrom and Florida Sportsmanwere key leaders in the campaign to amend Florida’s constitution to ban the nets. In 1994, the constitutional amendment that the campaign put to ballot passed with 72 percent of the vote. In the years following Florida’s fisheries rebounded dramatically.
After the net ban victory, Wickstrom turned much of his attention, and his writing inFlorida Sportsman, to the fight against the environmental disaster of chronic Lake Okeechobee water releases through the St. Lucie River and the Caloosahatchee rivers. For decades he supported the Rivers Coalition and other organizations in that statewide battle for cleaner waters for Florida estuaries and the Everglades.
“In his long history as a writer, editor and conservationist,” said Mark D. Perry, Executive Director, Florida Oceanographic Society, “Karl Wickstrom was a champion for Florida’s waters through several campaigns. Karl fought for our northern estuaries to stop the destructive discharges from Lake Okeechobee and send that water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay. He was a tenacious and effective advocate for our waters and I was honored to fight alongside this incredible champion.”
Wickstrom earned a long list of publishing and conservation awards. In 1995 the American Sportfishing Association named him “1995 Man of the Year” for his work on the gillnet ban. In 1999 he won The Billfish Foundation’s John Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame in 2008.
“Karl Wickstrom has always displayed a fierce will to protect Florida's waters and its fish populations, taking on everyone from governors to bureaucrats to captains of industry anytime he saw a threat to the future of the resources,” said Frank Sargeant, editor of The Fishing Wire and a regular contributor to Florida Sportsmansince 1970. “I also remember Karl's quick and incisive wit, and his ability to endlessly have a good time on the water. When the snook were not biting, Karl might propose a ‘who can put the lure closest to the mangroves’ casting contest. That usually resulted in one of us sticking his head in among the incredible clouds of no-see-ums to extract our lure while the other mercilessly drove the boat further into the bushes. It was always fun, even when we came back to the dock bug-bitten and empty-handed.”
In 2015, Karl won CCA Florida’s Ted Forsgren Conservation Award. At the time of that CCA award, presenter Bill Camp, past chair of CCA, said of Karl, “The Net Ban. Water quality. Recreational angler access. Sound resource management. Common sense. Karl Wickstrom has been your voice on these concerns and issues. Our voice. It’s the voice you want on your side. Unyielding. Passionate. Witty. Smart. Totally awesome.”
Wickstrom was also respected and influential in political circles, as well.
“When I first ran for public office 16 years ago,” said Sarah Heard, Martin County Commission officer since 2002, “Karl was the first person I contacted for support. No one in Florida enjoys or deserves more respect and admiration for his conservation credentials than Karl does. In a state notorious for flim flammers and greedy scammers, Karl stands out for his integrity and commitment to the natural resources of our state.”
As lauded as he was publicly for his accomplishments in conservation of wildlife resources, Karl Wickstrom was also well loved by his readers for his emphasis on the value of fishing and hunting in their lives. For nearly 50 years now, the magazine Karl started has spread both of those messages throughout Florida and across the U.S, and the interests of outdoor enthusiasts have been much stronger for his achievements.
“People might be reminded that the chief examples of Wickstrom’s legacy are actually written into Florida law,” said Jeff Weakley, current editor of Florida Sportsmanmagazine. “In the state Constitution, ‘Article X, Section 16: Limiting marine net fishing,’ is practically his own. Karl also envisioned and championed passage of ‘Article IV, Section 9: Fish and wildlife conservation commission.’ Ongoing legislative work—challenging and exciting—to reclaim Florida’s natural-flowing estuaries in part reveals his handwriting.
“Karl’s work has entertained and inspired generations of readers,” Weakley said. “His legacy continues to shape the very philosophies and systems that govern the conservation and public use of natural resources.”
Read more about Karl and his legacy at www.floridasportsman.com.
STATEWIDE CHAPTERS REPRESENTED
Orlando, FL – June 25, 2018 – CCA Florida, the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, today shared details on the winners in the nonprofit’s 15thAnnual Inter-Chapter Challenge (ICC) event.
The ICC began in 2004 to bring members from across the state together to share ideas, compare chapter initiatives and enjoy a day on the water. The family-friendly event is an all-release tournament and includes inshore and offshore divisions. This year’s event welcomed 140 anglers representing 17 chaptersand took place June 22ndand 23rdat the River Palm Cottages in Jensen Beach, Florida. Chapters in attendance included Broward County, Dade County, Jacksonville, Lake County, Manatee County, Martin County, Mid-Coast, Naples, North Palm Beach, Ocala, Orlando, Polk County, Sarasota, South Palm Beach, Space Coast, Tampa and Treasure Coast. The 2019 event will again take place in Jensen Beach at River Palm, on June 21stand 22nd.
Below please find a full listing of all winners.
Individual: Snook – Mike Napier, Naples Chapter (35”)
Individual: Redfish – Jeff Ball, Naples Chapter (24.5”)
Individual: Trout – Andy Steinbergs, Treasure Coast Chapter (25.25”)
Ladies: Jan Crabill Largest Snook Award – Arvilla Stokes, Polk County Chapter (22”)
Ladies: Trout – Harley Graham, Orlando Chapter (19.25”)
Team: Snook – Naples Chapter (three largest snook, 35”, 28.5, 27”)
Team: Redfish – Naples Chapter (three largest redfish, 24.5”, 19”, 19”)
Team: Trout – Treasure Coast Chapter (three largest trout, 25.25”, 17”, 15”)
Alex Jernigan Inshore Grand Champion:
1stPlace – Naples Chapter (35” snook, 24.5” redfish, 20” trout)
2ndPlace – Martin County Chapter (29” snook, 19” redfish, 25” trout)
Individual: Dolphin – Jay Etzler, Broward County Chapter (31”)
Individual: Sailfish – Bill Camp, North Palm Beach Chapter (1 release)
Ladies Offshore: Sailfish – Julie Crispin, Martin County Chapter (2 releases)
Team: Dolphin – Treasure Coast Chapter (49.5” total of catches)
Team: Sailfish – Martin County Chapter (4 releases)
Rufus Wakeman Offshore Grand Champion: Ocala Chapter (a sailfish release and 26.5” dolphin)
Inshore: Rupert McAndless, Broward County Chapter (blue fish)
Offshore: Donna Divine, Ocala Chapter (bonita)
Trash Can Slam
Inshore: Orlando Chapter
Offshore: North Palm Beach Chapter
A bill known as the Modern Fish Act and related legislation will soon come to the floor in both the House and the U.S. Senate. This law aims to improve recreational access to federal fisheries while safeguarding sustainability for future generations. Please advocate for the Modern Fish Act by sending a pre-written letter to your elected officials on Bassforsalt.com, Yamaha Marine Advocacy, Boating United, or Keepamericafishing.org.
Please listen to Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale's video asking for your help in protecting your access to fisheries and support the Modern Fish Act by advocating TODAY.
Be on the lookout for future messages from Bass for Salt to defend your right to fish.