A 20-year-long battle between commercial anglers and environmentalists in Florida is once again back in court. State attorneys are trying to reverse a lower court’s decision to repeal the state’s ban on certain types of gill nets.
Leon Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ruled in favor of commercial fishing interests last November. She concluded the state’s rules stemming from a 1994 constitutional amendment banning nets with mesh gap larger than two inches actually hampered conservation efforts.
Both sides rehashed their 20-year-long gripe in front of a three judges at the 1st District Court of Appeals on May 15th.
Commercial fishermen Keith Ward and Ronald Crum argue the ban damages their livelihood and harms conservation efforts by inadvertently killing juvenile fish that aren’t marketable. But, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and State Attorney John Glogau call that assertion misleading because the real threat to fish species is the killing of larger, spawning females.
The court has no specified deadline to decide the case.