Net Lawsuit

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

Less than a month ago mullet fishermen and Florida Fish and Wildlife officers were working together on a net experiment.

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

Now, attorney Ron Mowrey, who represents mullet fishermen, is challenging the FWC in court.

Ron says, “I think it was a tremendous step in the right direction and hope when they get the lawsuit they realize we're correct and we're extending an olive branch to them.”

He's asking the agency to finish what they started before implementing new rules, like one adopted July 1, 2005 stating any mesh net over two inches is an entangling net, therefore it's illegal in Florida waters.

Ron Mowrey says, “The small mesh nets are going to kill off the resource, and the agency needs to recognize that.”

Lee Schlesinger, FWC spokesman, also says, “We just received the complaint. My understanding is we have 20 days to respond, and we will do so accordingly.”

Mowrey hopes the agency will cooperate by repealing the rule until all the net data is collected. Mowrey says he hopes to get an emergency injunction hearing this Friday in Crawfordville.

FWC says it will take the full 20 days to decide its next move.


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