Letters to the Editor

Fish gill net ban harms us all

I’m writing about the three recent Associated Press reports in the Herald about fishermen held as slaves by a fishery in Indonesia. I saw a TV report showing the release of a fishermen having been held for 20 years, being reunited with his mother. It also showed the cemetery with 70 graves.

The fishing slavery story should matter to us because we have created the market for the fish harvested by them held on an island, beaten and underfed so we could have seafood. Not fresh from Florida. It could have been. The AP story included following the harvesting to loading for transport and the unloading at the USA markets, some in our area.

Ninety percent of our seafood is imported and only 1 percent is inspected. We now know where some of it comes from. Undoubtedly, this is not the only fishery using slaves. Perhaps the shrimp from China.

It is ironic to me, a Cortez Florida fisherman’s daughter, that men are forced to fish and my kin folks were not allowed to fish by the 1995 gill-net ban. To newcomers, yes they can use cast nets that capture all the immature fish. They cannot use the larger mesh gill nets that release the smaller fish to continue growing.

Forty percent of fishermen in Florida had to find another job. I believe that we can and should repeal the net ban if the voters were made aware of the facts.

Wow, with this we could have “Fresh from Florida” harvested year round at prices we could afford.

Do you know that before the net ban the Florida mullet was 45 cents a pound and $2.25 after the ban?

Thank you, AP report. How about a follow-up letting us know which restaurants are serving fish from the slave fishery? I urge the buyer to ask the source of their fish dinner.

Join me in contacting our Florida legislators. An amendment to repeal the net ban would pass an informed electorate.

Dr. Mary Fulford Green