Barracuda, not known as a wildly popular dish on local dinner menus, have seen a fivefold increase in commercial catch rates in Florida Keys waters. Which begs the question, why the sudden spike in demand? Harvest is unregulated and, according to area guides, the hit is taking a toll on this once prolific gamefish.
In response, members of Lower Keys Guides Association initiated a Save the Barracuda campaign/online petition asking the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to investigate the status of the barracuda. FWC is now hosting several workshops, where staff will share information on the barracuda’s future, while hearing comments from anglers and fishing guides.
“Barracuda is prized as a strong fighter in sport fishing and is a valuable catch and release fish,” says John O’Hearn, president of the LKGA. “But since it is an unregulated species, considered a food and bait fish, it has no protection for size or numbers being harvested.”
Upcoming workshops, beginning on Feb. 25 in Key Colony Beach, FL, are open to the public. Please consider attending.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.