Free fishing weekends announced

Local reporters for Historic City News in St. Augustine received “good news” from Governor Charlie Crist today, announcing two “free fishing weekends” just in time to help draw visitors to St. Johns County’s beautiful beaches.

Both residents and nonresidents in Florida can fish for saltwater species around the state without a license during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, May 29th to May 31st.

Also, no license will be required during the first weekend after the popular Gulf red snapper season opens, the weekend of June 5th and 6th. All other fishing rules apply.

“Florida is the fishing capital of the world,” said Governor Crist, “Our beaches are clear, the fish are biting, and we invite our friends to enjoy some Florida hospitality.”

Chairman Rodney Baretto of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission applauded the Governor’s decision.

“Governor 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 very 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.

Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire

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