FWC chairwoman defends conservation stance

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Kathy Barco, chairwoman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, posted a message on the FWC website explaining the agency’s take on finding the right balance between saltwater anglers’ rights and the obligations of the conservation agency.

“Thanks to years of successful management strategies, the commission was able to increase fishing opportunities for red drum and spotted sea trout in state waters,” Barco writes. “Nearly 2 million saltwater anglers live and visit Florida’s 2,276 miles of coastline. These increases not only allow for better fishing opportunities, they also provide economic opportunities.

“Recreational saltwater fishing in Florida has an annual economic impact of $5.7 billion. Bait and tackle shops, charter fishermen, hotels and restaurants are just a few of the businesses that gain from the increased fishing opportunities as more anglers flock to the Fishing Capital of the World."

Click here for the full message.

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