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Florida Constitution Revision Commission

PUB 700754: Redirect Authority Governing Marine Net Fishing by Michelle Lee Baldwin

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 16. Limiting marine net fishing.

SECTION 16.Limiting marine net fishing.
  1. The marine resources of the State of Florida belong to all of the people of the state and should be conserved and managed for the benefit of the state, its people, and future generations. To this end the people hereby enact limitations on marine net fishing in Florida waters to protect saltwater finfish, shellfish, and other marine animals from unnecessary killing, overfishing and waste.
  2. For the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish or other marine animals in Florida waters:
    1. Any andall gill nets or other entanling nets used for the purpose of commercially harvested seafood used in any Florida waters shall be governed by laws, rules and regulations st forth by the 16 U.S.C. 1801-1884, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA)
    2. Section 302 of the MSFCA established the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (RFMC). The objectives of these councils are to develope, monitor and revise fishery management plans and data collection programs for domestic and foreign fishing conducted within the 200-mile U.U. Exclusive Ecomonomic Zone (EEZ). THis is done with the approval of the Secratary of Commerce, who has stewardship responibilities under MSFCMA for living marine resources in the EEZ.
    3. The state of Florida waters are so vast and diverse that it falls under two different regions of the RFMC, the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council and the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, and should be governed accordingly.
    4. No other governing authority lacking the science, data or management practices of the RFMC should supersede laws, restrictions and enforcement powers set forth by the MSFCMA.
  3. For purposes of this section:
    1. "gill net" means one or more walls of netting which captures saltwater finfish by ensnaring or entangling them in the meshes of the net by the gills, and "entangling net" means a drift net, trammell net, stab net, or any other net which captures saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals by causing all or part of heads, fins, legs, or other body parts to become entangled or ensnared in the meshes of the net, but a hand thrown cast net is not a gill net or an entangling net;
    2. "mesh area" of a net means the total area of netting with the meshes open to comprise the maximum square footage. The square footage shall be calculated using standard mathematical formulas for geometric shapes. Seines and other rectangular nets shall be calculated using the maximum length and maximum width of the netting. Trawls and other bag type nets shall be calculated as a cone using the maximum circumference of the net mouth to derive the radius, and the maximum length from the net mouth to the tail end of the net to derive the slant height. Calculations for any other nets or combination type nets shall be based on the shapes of the individual components;
    3. "coastline" means the territorial sea base line for the State of Florida established pursuant to the laws of the United States of America;
    4. "Florida waters" means the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and any other bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, whether coastal, intracoastal or inland, and any part thereof; and
    5. "nearshore and inshore Florida waters" means all Florida waters inside a line three miles seaward of the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and inside a line one mile seaward of the coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. This section shall not apply to the use of nets for scientific research or governmental purposes.
  5. Persons violating this section shall be prosecuted and punished pursuant to the penalties provided in section 370.021(2)(a),(b),(c)6. and 7., and (e), Florida Statutes (1991), unless and until the legislature enacts more stringent penalties for violations hereof. On and after the effective date of this section, law enforcement officers in the state are authorized to enforce the provisions of this section in the same manner and authority as if a violation of this section constituted a violation of Chapter 370, Florida Statutes (1991).
  6. It is the intent of this section that implementing legislation is not required for enforcing any violations hereof, but nothing in this section prohibits the establishment by law or pursuant to law of more restrictions on the use of nets for the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals.
  7. If any portion of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion of this section, to the fullest extent possible, shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application.
  8. This section shall take effect on the July 1 next occurring after approval hereof by vote of the electors.