Rick’s Bait Shop
A lot Going on in NE Florida
US Secretary of Commerce Makes Bold Statements in Support for Recreational Fishing
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross underlined his department's support of the fishing and boating industries and took a swipe at China over tariffs. Addressing the American Boating Congress in Washington D.C., he told delegates that he understood the importance of their business to the economy.
He said his department has been working with recreational fishing and boating groups on initiatives from fisheries and advisory committees. "We have signed a memorandum of understanding with four groups, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association to promote sustainable boating and fishing activities. We're also working on collaborative programs with anglers to restore fishing habitat."
He also cited the economic impact of outdoor recreation, which represents 2.2% of the total GDP of the US economy. " Boating and fishing are bigger than mining, agriculture and utilities," he pointed out. Ross said that ten million saltwater anglers contribute about $39 billion annually in sales and support 472,000 American jobs.
The boating industry contributed $27 billion, of which $15.4 billion was spent on boats.
More information on Algae Bloom
I received a letter from Lisa Rinaman the St. Johns Riverkeeper. She stated that the river is experiencing active algae blooms and toxins from Lake George to St. Johns County, and some have even been seen downtown Jacksonville and the Arlington River. She stated "this is a cause for concern”.
Here are some important safety tips from the Florida Department of Health if you come into contact with a visible algae bloom:
Avoid scummy, foamy water where algae blooms are present. Heavy blooms often appear as bright patches which are pea green and occasionally include a scum on the surface that looks like paint.
Don't cook with, ingest, or eat fish or crab from water where blooms are occurring.
Do not let your pets drink from affected waters.
Do not eat fish that look unhealthy.
Do not swim in, jet ski through, or play near scummy water or blooms. Blue-green algae can emit toxins that cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and respiratory irritation.
American Sportfishing Association to Push for Study of Forage Fish
First, what is a forage fish? They are the bottom of the fish food chain… fish such as sardines, herring and anchovies are small, nutrient-rich species that serve as a primary food source for most sportfish populations.
With increasing interest in commercial harvest of forage fish, the ASA believes managers should fully consider the impact forage fish have on sportfish populations and the larger marine ecosystem when setting catch limits.
The Forage Fish Conservation Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would require the impacts on fish populations and the marine ecosystem be considered before allowing harvest on any currently unmanaged forage species, and that predator needs be accounted for in existing management plans for forage fish.
Want to talk more about these issues? Call in every Friday to the “Gone Fishin’ Radio Show” from noon until 2:00 pm. On FM 102.3. 904.831.1023
You can also listen on-line at www.gonefishinshow.com.
Rick’s Bait Shop
Co-Publisher, Fishing Connection