ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved the long-term Black Bass Management Plan at its June 9 meeting in St. Augustine.
Tom Champeau, director of the FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, said the integrated plan will focus on expanding new opportunities, in addition to refining traditional conservation approaches dealing with habitat and fish management practices that take into consideration human needs. The implementation of the plan will create significant ecological, economic and social benefits for Florida.
“We appreciate the public support that went into developing this comprehensive plan,” Champeau said. “More than 7,500 anglers provided input, as did a technical assistance group representing a variety of fishing-related businesses, university experts, professional anglers, outdoor media and fishing guides.”
Noreen Clough, the national conservation director for B.A.S.S., applauded staff for the comprehensive plan.
“This is an excellent road map for the state of Florida,” said Clough, who participated in the FWC meeting. “It will make bass fishing in Florida even more world-class than it already is, if that’s even possible.”
Bass fishing provides more than 14 million days of quality outdoor recreation for bass anglers in Florida and generates an economic impact of $1.25 billion, and bass fishing tournaments are a boon to the state and its local economies.
To cement Florida’s status as the Black Bass Fishing Capital of the World, the Black Bass Management Plan strives to create and maintain healthy lakes and rivers, including trophy bass fisheries, to benefit many species of fish and wildlife; to strengthen local economies by documenting and increasing the economic impacts derived from bass fishing; and to attract events, such as national professional bass fishing tournaments, to smaller towns and cities as a result of Florida’s enhanced reputation.
Encouraging youth and families to get outside and enjoy fishing improves health by reducing the potential for obesity and enhancing social interactions as well as a respect for nature. Consequently, the FWC will integrate the plan with the agency's Creating the Next Generation that Cares initiative.