Boaters have “a vested interest in protecting the nation’s waterways.”
That was according to a letter to the editor in the Miami Herald on Monday from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, which said the Miami International Boat Show has been “a good neighbor and placed the utmost importance on compliance with environmental requirements.”
Foundation chairman Rodney Barreto discussed a new partnership with show organizers from the National Marine Manufacturers Association and he said the trade group has “demonstrated an ongoing commitment to meeting environmental standards associated with the new venue” at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin.
“That’s why the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida will be on hand to promote the common goal of creating successive generations of Florida boaters and anglers who are knowledgeable, respectful stewards of our marine habitats,” Barreto wrote.
“Attendees can learn about our popular Fishing Camp for Kids, Youth Conservation Camp and ‘I Do’ campaign encouraging anglers to buy a fishing license. We’ll even be offering fishing licenses that boat show attendees can buy on site.”
Another letter decried the outcry from Key Biscayne, where elected officials have publicly opposed the show’s move to Virginia Key, citing traffic and environmental concerns.
“Is there any event that the good residents of Key Biscayne would welcome?” asked Lawrence Snetman of Coconut Grove. “The boat show will no doubt be an inconvenience for the village for a few days, but it also brings innumerable good things to the area.”
The letters were perhaps in response to a letter in Sunday’s Miami Herald from Key Biscayne resident Raul Llorente, who applauded Miami-Dade County Commissioners for delaying approval of a permit that is needed for the in-water portion of the Miami International Boat Show to take place at the new venue.
Yachts Miami Beach, formerly known as the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, has completely separate ownership and management and is not affected by the dispute between the NMMA and Key Biscayne. Although the two shows have always run concurrently, they are not connected. Yachts Miami Beach will remain at its location along Collins Avenue and will have an additional location at Island Gardens Marina on Watson Island.
The NMMA’s recent partnership with the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is part of the group’s effort to get people who fish to buy licenses, NMMA president Thom Dammrich said.
“That puts more money into conservation, fishery restoration and those sorts of things,” he told Trade Only. “The other thing they do is operate some kids’ fishing and conservation camps, which educate young anglers on responsible fishing practices and the importance of conservation.”
The partnership allows the groups to work side by side to promote the importance of conserving the country’s waterways — “a topic that's close to the hearts and minds of the boating community,” NMMA spokeswoman Ellen Hopkins Bradley said.
“As the citizen-support organization of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, they work to protect the health and well-being of Florida's fish and wildlife resources and their habitats,” she said. “Their presence at the 2016 Miami International Boat Show will give attendees an opportunity to learn firsthand how to get involved in their conservation efforts, from their ‘I Do’ fishing license campaign to their kids’ conservation camps. The show provides a platform for creating future conservation-minded boaters and anglers.”