NMMA opposes plan for Everglades restrictions

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association is speaking out against a plan that would convert a third of Florida Bay waters to specialized zones, saying the effects on fishing and boating would be “devastating.”

Following a call for public comment, the NMMA submitted a letter on behalf of its members to Everglades National Park. The National Park Service has proposed a new plan for the Everglades that will dictate park management for the next 10 to 20 years.

The plan would convert a third of the waters of the Florida Bay into “pole and troll zones,” which would be off limits to combustion-engine boats and would require separate mandatory education components to access the park’s waters.

In its letter to the Park Service, the NMMA acknowledged that pole and troll zones are designed to protect shallow waters from recreational damage, but it recommended that the Park Service decrease the overall size of the zones and consider implementing less onerous measures, such as idle speed zones, where appropriate.

As is, the pole and troll zones span distances upwards of three miles.

"Should these pole and troll zones be finalized in a general management plan, the impact to recreational boating and fishing in Florida Bay will be devastating,” NMMA director of regulatory and legal affairs Nicole Vasilaros said in the letter. "Access will be limited and park visitation will inherently suffer."

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