The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reaching out to Bay County residents for information about a recent fish dumping at a boat ramp on Tyndall Air Force Base. FWC officials say the more than 100 pounds of dead fish were caught with illegal gill nets.
Commercial fishermen and state conservation officials have battled over the gill net rule since it was first ratified by voters in 1994. Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford lifted a ban on nets with mesh larger than 2-inches for a single day in October, but the state appealed and the ban was reinstated as the trial moves forward. FWC Spokesman Stan Kirkland said that leads investigators to believe the Bay County dump’s timing was more than a coincidence.
“The fact that these fish were taken by gill net within days after the ruling by the judge, which some people chose to use that opportunity, leads our investigators to believe that it’s probably somebody again, trying to send us a signal,” Kirkland explained during a phone interview Monday.
Kirkland said sometime during the night of December 1st, hundreds of pounds of fish were dumped at the bottom of the Davis Beach Boat Ramp. If caught, the perpetrators could see equipment seized, fines levied and fishing licenses revoked. In return for information leading to the capture of those involved, the Wildlife Commission is offering up to $1,000 in reward money.