By: Bailey Myers
November 7, 2013
Tallahassee FL - Florida's fishermen are again, all caught up in a big mess dealing with nets.
The debate over what type of net fishermen throughout the state can use started more than eighteen years ago, but now it's all coming to a head. Mullet Fishermen will wait for days to catch their meal ticket, but when the fish jump over the 500 square foot nylon nets only a few are caught at a time.
For 18 years fishermen have fought Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission on their regulations. Just last week they won. One local fishermen advocate Ronald Crum explained, "The first time people realized there was no regulation people went out and there was millions of dollars spent."
Fishermen bought new bigger and what they say are better nets. They were taken away Thursday, when the District Appellate Court granted a stay-- eliminating Judge Fulford orders. The judges order allowed fishermen to use any type and size of net they wanted throughout the state of Florida but today things are different and fishermen are back to using they say don't do the job.
The F.W.C. refused to meet with us Thursday, but did post a statement on its web site saying they would be "resuming enforcement of the net limitation" immediately. That means fishermen are back to using 500 square foot nets, with a mesh maximum limit of two inches stretched, and those monofilament nets the fishermen like so much are now illegal.
With many fishermen using new-- now illegal nets-- the F.W.C. has said they will be educating fishermen on what is and for now will continue to be illegal.
"The F.W.C. has their hands full, but they created it," said Crum.
WCTV Eyewitness News spoke with the Attorney representing the F.W.C. and he explained these regulations will stay in place until the appellate court makes a decision on this case. He also told me that could take anywhere from six to eight months.