FWC Approves Black Bass Management Plan
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the long-term Black Bass Management Plan at its meeting in St. Augustine last Thursday.
Tom Champeau, director of the FWC's Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, said the integrated plan will focus on expanding new opportunities, in addition to refining traditional conservation approaches dealing with habitat and fish management practices that take into consideration human needs. Implementation of the plan will create significant ecological, economic and social benefits for Florida.
"We appreciate the public support that went into developing this comprehensive plan," Champeau said. "More than 7,500 anglers provided input, as did a technical assistance group representing a variety of fishing-related businesses, university experts, professional anglers, outdoor media and fishing guides."
The overall goal is to ensure Florida is the Black Bass Fishing Capital of the World by:
- Ensuring healthy lakes and rivers to benefit many species of fish and wildlife, as well as trophy bass fisheries.
- Strengthening local economies by documenting and increasing the economic impacts derived from bass fishing, which already provides more than 14 million days of quality outdoor recreation for bass anglers and generates an economic impact of $1.25 billion.
- Attracting events such national professional bass fishing tournaments, which have huge economic impacts, to smaller towns and cities as a result of Florida's enhanced reputation.
Noreen Clough, the national conservation director for B.A.S.S., applauded staff for the comprehensive plan.
"This is an excellent road map for the state of Florida," Clough said. "It will make bass fishing in Florida even more world-class than it already is, if that's even possible."
Encouraging youth and families to get outside and enjoy fishing improves health by reducing the potential for obesity and enhancing social interactions as well as a respect for nature. Consequently, the FWC will integrate the plan with the agency's Creating the Next Generation that Cares initiative (MyFWC.com/Youth).
For more information on the Black Bass Management Plan and recreational fishing in Florida, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing.
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