PENSACOLA – Gov. Charlie Crist today announced two free fishing weekends to help draw visitors to Florida's beaches.
Residents and nonresidents in Florida can fish for saltwater species around the state without a license during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, May 29 to May 31, and the weekend of June 5 and 6, which is the first weekend after the popular red snapper season opens in the Gulf on June 1, the governor's office announced in a press release. All other fishing rules apply.
"Florida is the fishing capital of the world,” Crist said in the release. “Our beaches are clear, the fish are biting, and we invite our friends to enjoy some Florida hospitality.”
Rodney Baretto, chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, applauded the decision.
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“Gov. Crist’s actions to offer free fishing this weekend will do wonders for our business communities that have been suffering cancellations since the oil spill started,” Barreto said. “We are not experiencing any oil impacts, and the fact remains that Florida is open for business.”
The FWC will continue to monitor all of the potential impacts of the oil spill on Florida’s fish and wildlife and continue to be involved with many aspects of the oil spill response, Barreto added. In addition, the FWC has consulted with key representatives from several fishing organizations in Florida who are concerned about inaccurate public perceptions regarding the condition of Florida’s fisheries and the state’s marine environment.
There has been strong agreement from these stakeholders that the fishing business in Florida is “as usual” and that fishing remains a safe and viable recreational and commercial activity.