Making it O-Fish-Cial

Fishing for mullet along the St. Marks River is a way of life for many locals, but if you ask Daniel Carter, that life has gone from riches to rags in a matter of years.

"I've about lost everything I had trying to use them."

He's talking about two-inch mesh nets, the legal limit according to Florida lawmakers, but it's a "baby killer" if you ask those who use it.

These fishermen say they pull up baby mullet on every strike, something Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can now see first-hand.

LT Robert Beaton, a FWC officer, says, "Any time two sides can come together is a good thing. You can see the cooperation. We're getting along."

The object is to test the legal net versus the old net.

Brent Winner, a FWC research scientist, says, "Same size twine, but mesh is different; one with two-inch the other with three-inch."

Winner says if the three-inch net shows promise, they'll continue testing throughout the state, something Jonas Porter says should have been done years ago.

Jonas Porter, a commercial fisherman, says, "If they used biology instead of policy, we'd be fishing with big nets. Biology shows we're killing baby fish, and that's why we're fighting."


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