New Push to Get Permit Listed As Gamefish In Florida

December 9, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

For those of us who love fly fishing for permit, it may seem hard to believe that Florida has resisted giving the fish permanent protection for so long. The anti-gamefish argument — first suggested by commercial netters, then supported by commercial hook-and-line operators — was that juvenile permit were indistinguishable from pompano, and that therefore it was an undue burden on them to release permit. Of course the ultimate impact of that logic was that permit were targeted as often as pompano. And as late as this past summer Captain Mike Wilbur of Key West noticed a popular restaurant advertising “grilled permit” on its daily chalkboard. Apparently some Key West charter captains had begun supplementing their income by selling permit as tourist food.
Now Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (formerly “Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited” or BTU) has stepped into the fray and decided to put their weight behind getting permit listed as a Florida gamefish, which would prevent commercial taking and selling. A BTT board member proposed this action during the Public Comment period at the recent Florida Fish & Wildlife meeting in Key West and was supported by comments from numerous guides and anglers. The FWC welcomed the comments, and now it appears they will move forward toward giving permit the appropriate protections.
What is needed now is for more anglers (both Florida residents and non-residents) to add their names to the list of anglers and guides supporting this effort. BTT has provided a simple-to-use form for doing this on their Web site. Or you can write directly to:
Commissioner Rodney Barreto, Chairman
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 S. Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600