FFF’s Sweet Sixteen

Here Are Sixteen Facts that Ted Forsgren of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and Karl Wickstrom of Florida Sportsman Magazine don’t want you to know. Since, they control the FWC, we thought our readers should be enlightened.

1. Before… Yes… Before the Net Limitation Act, sportsfishermen in Florida caught 70.46 of the resource, yet anti-netting groups such as the FCA (CCA) blamed the commercial net fishing community for wiping out the resource with their 29.54 take. (Oh, the marvels of media.)

2. Before the Net Limitation Act, Florida Sportsman Magazine stated that they had “considerable feelings” for the plight of the small scale inshore net fishery by stating, “If it were possible to allow single, small nets that are effectively regulated and policed, a net ban might not be necessary.” Now that nets are substantially smaller than any nets imaginable before the Net Limitation Act, their attempts to totally annihilate what is left of the industry speaks volumes of their integrity and sincerity.

3. Ted Forsgren agreed in the Legislature that fishermen should be able to use nylon nets of any mesh size. (See Florida Statute 370.093 2 (b) ) A fact he has conveniently forgot about when publicly declaring that fishermen are attempting to find loopholes to use “illegal gill nets.”

4. The United States Government during WWII declared recreational fishing a “non-essential industry” because of it’s waste of the resources…NOT commercial fishing. (Simply start from how many gallons of gas it takes for a recreational fisherman versus a commercial fisherman to produce a pound of fish.) Start thinking rationally and you will be stunned at the effect that propaganda has had upon you!

5. The FWC has declared the Net Limitation Act as a purely POLITICAL Act and not a biological act. Many Legislators will tell you that the Net Limitation Act was bad for Florida.

6. Mullet is the big “comeback kid” that the CCA and Florida Sportsman Magazine takes credit for because of the Net Limitation Act. A simple reading of the report written by the state’s mullet expert, Behzad Mahmoudi, asserts that the mullet had recovered significantly, prior to the Net Limitation Act, and that the SPR was already heading toward recovery goals due to existing regulations.

7. While CCA members assert that commercial fishermen are “stealing the public’s fish,” whom do they think is eating and looking to purchase the allegedly “stolen fish?”

8. Same with the baitfish… They claim to have saved the “baitfish,” but whom do these rocket scientists think bought the “baitfish” to fish with? … Many of the same people that read Florida Sportsman Magazine and belong to the CCA!

9. If the CCA and Florida Sportsman have their way, the only way you will be able to eat fish is if you catch them yourself! Simply forget about the elderly, handicapped, and the public that doesn’t fish. In their world, only they exist to partake of the resource. In their world, only they represent the “public.”

10. The word “Conservation,” in the “Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), as many conservation organizations have discovered, is a complete misnomer meant to fool an uneducated public.

11. Check Mr. Forsgrens math… Describing it as “Fuzzy” doesn’t come close. Take for instance an article he wrote for Florida Sportsman on the Commercial Net Harvest of Pompano. (2004) He speaks of pompano fishermen raking in thousands of dollars a night in his push for stricter penalties. Simply apply and compare his own math with the numbers of fishermen listed in his own article and find the truth about Ted for yourself. Ted must figure the average reader of Florida Sportsman to be absolutely ignorant of mathematics. You decide. By the way Ted, what was the recreational catch of pompano? How many recreational catches were included in the commercial quota?

12. Ted Forsgren cries out “NET BAN!” But there wasn’t a single person in Florida that voted for a “NET BAN.” The simple fact is Ted, that 100 of the voters said “limit” or “don’t limit” nets in Florida. A “net ban” would entitle commercial fishermen to be compensated for a constitutional taking.

13. Ted Forsgren claims that he wants to “conserve” the resource by forcing commercial net fishermen to use smaller meshes. The entire world fisheries management disagrees with Ted’s ideas. Not one fin-fishery management in the world reduces mesh size to reduce by-catch of fishes. Ted is trying to break the purpose of the Florida Constitution by forcing fishermen to catch and unnecessarily kill millions of small, unmarketable fish that have never had a chance to spawn. All fishermen and fishery experts know that larger mesh sizes are VERY selective, reduce unwanted by-catch, and let hundreds of different species of baby fishes move out of the shallows to grow up and reproduce.

14. Perhaps the most stupid remark that Ted Forsgren has made is that commercial fishermen don’t care about the baby fish… That they are just using the “baby fish” excuse as a reason to get “gill nets” again. I think of the complete stupidity of his remarks every time I see old fishermen cry for killing the “fry” they have always been taught for generations to preserve.

15. It is unrefuted, “All nets gill fish.” A simple reading of the constitution allows ANY net as long as the net is under 500 square feet of mesh area.” Pure and simple, the constitution specifically allows “rectangular and seine” nets under 500 square feet of mesh area. There is NO mesh size limitation in the constitution. This was a theory dreamed up by the CCA to create a “net ban” instead of a “Net Limitation Act.” Read the Constitution for yourself! (It’s on our website.)

16. The “Net Limitation Act” was crammed down the throats of an uneducated public with falsified pictures, TV ads of a turtle laying on it’s back and a dolphin ensnared in a net to make it look as if the commercial net fishing industry was at fault. Fishing For Freedom has a letter from the University of Georgia condemning the false representation of the turtle’s plight and the underhanded tactics used by the “grass roots group” to mislead the public. We also have a sheriff that witnessed “Save Our Sealife” people run down the beach and cover a dead dolphin with a net. The “Save Our Sealife” group then used the picture they snapped to insinuate that commercial netters had “killed flipper.” This very famous picture was used to enrage the public at all of the sign up booths for the Net Limitation Act. The sheriff that witnessed this act is willing to testify to what happened… He had towed the same dead dolphin offshore two days beforehand with a severe prop gash in it’s head. (Most likely from a recreational speed boat.)

FFF has always supported the recreational fishing industry and will continue to do so throughout our existence. What we do not support are lies, deception, misrepresentation or wrongfully demonizing innocent, hardworking individuals or groups.