Marine Ecosystem Protection
Robyn Churchill

Marine Ecosystem Protection



The Florida Wildlife Federation supports scientifically-based management of our saltwater populations and has consistently backed the recovery of depleted fish and marine wildlife. To achieve recovery of historically overfished populations of marine fish, we support the implementation of the conservation goals established by the Magnuson Act and the proper management of forage fish populations which serve as the basis of the entire marine food web. Forage fish, just like apex predators, need protection from overfishing. Whether it’s the top of the food chain, or the bottom, overfishing throws ecosystems out of balance.

The restoration of our reef fish requires letting more fish reach older ages, which produce many more offspring than do smaller, more juvenile fish. This also allows for better balanced sex ratios which will increase reef fish productivity. Marine fisheries management should focus on selective fishing gear which does not adversely impact essential fish habitat. By growing fish populations, we will not have to rely on onerous regulations.

Overfishing, or catching fish faster than they can reproduce, is a losing proposition. It weakens fish populations and ocean ecosystems, making both vulnerable to pollution, natural disturbances and climate change. It also hurts the economies of coastal communities that rely on abundant fish to sustain tourism, fishing, diving and other coastal industries.

Indeed, an analysis commissioned by the Pew Environment Group showed that commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico lost $12.3 million in 2009 because of population declines in important species such as red snapper and gag grouper. Revenues could have been at least 16 percent higher if several fish populations were at healthier levels.

In addition to preventing overfishing, we advocate for policies that consider the ecosystem as a whole and the interaction between species, including measures that reduce by-catch and protect critical habitat, spawning areas and the food web.

Florida provides one-third of the nation’s seafood and is one of the country’s premiere destinations for recreational fishing. Recreational fishing is an essential part of the state’s economy and fishing regulations that sustain fish populations for the long-term are critical to maintaining Florida’s economic prosperity.

Forage Fish Pledge

Forage fish are foundation of Florida’s legacy as Fishing Capital of the World. Visit the Florida Forage Fish Coalition website to learn more about why forage fish are important and why they need protection. Take the Forage Fish Pledge to show your support for better forage fish protection in Florida. http://floridaforagefish.igfa.org

Infographics

Little Fish Are a Big Deal to Florida

Videos

Securing Safe Havens For Fish
A big-picture approach is key to preserving our oceans
Jupiter Inlet snook, baitfish and more

Marine Ecosystem Protection Articles



Gulf Reef Fish Survey in Florida
This new data collection program will improve how recreational catch is monitored and provide information needed to ensure sustainable fisheries in Florida.
July 2015

Cleaner Bluefish Suggest Coal Rules Work
A large drop in fish mercury levels suggests that U.S. efforts to clean up coal are working
July 2015

Palm Beach (FL) County Lionfish Derby Aug. 15
On August 15th, recreational divers will flock to local reefs to hunt in the fifth Annual Palm Beach County Lionfish Derby. Their mission: remove lionfish. Their reward: more than $3,500 in cash prizes for bringing in lionfish and saving native fish populations.
July 2015

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Press Releases & Staff Articles



Florida First District Court of Appeals upholds Net Limitation
Florida Wildlife Federation filed an Amicus brief to support the constitutional amendment and is pleased that the court upheld provision to conserve our marine resources.
07/07/2014

Follow the Will of the Voters - Keep the Net Limitation
Florida Wildlife Federation supports the will of the voters – enforce the Net Limitation.
05/21/2014

Little Fish Make Big Fish - Managing Forage Species
Forage fish are those little fish that swim in schools in our saltwaters. As with all ecosystems, our seas and coastal waters need to have all parts of the food chain intact to thrive and be sustainable.
02/27/2014

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