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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:55 pm 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 2:41 pm
Posts: 12
I live by and frequently kayak a small body of water called Punta Blanca. As best as I can tell from maps I find on the internet it is completely within the Matlacha Marine Preserve (SW Florida). It has always been one of my favorite places, too shallow for most power boats, too remote except for fairly serious kayakers. I can usually spend most of a day there and never see another soul save for a dolphin or two. It's beautiful and calm, full of fish and birds including eagles, and frequented by dolphins that feed and play. Ninety percent of it is less than 4' deep at high tide.

About a year ago I was shocked to find the entire bay covered by a dense grid of crab pots. They have now been there for over a year and of course no more dolphins. The other day I happened to run into the commercial crab boat collecting their catch and I briefly talked with the captain. He tells me it is perfectly legal to commercial fish the preserve.

So my question is what are we preserving in a marine preserve if commercial fishing is allowed?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:41 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 12:44 pm
Posts: 12054
Location: Oceanside, California
Found this:

The Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve provides many types of recreational and commercial uses for permanent and part-time residents and visiting tourists including recreational and commercial boating and fishing, single and multi family structures, swimming, commercial uses such as docks and boat slips associated with restaurants, marinas and resorts, and miscellaneous utility uses.

Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge Authorizing Legislation: Executive Order 943 Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on September 26, 1908, Executive Order 943 ordered that three small islands located in Matlacha Pass, Florida, be reserved and set aside for the use as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.
Date of Designation: 1908
Management Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Management Goals: (1) To protect and provide suitable habitat for endangered and threatened species, including the West Indian manatee, eastern indigo snake, American crocodile, wood stork, and bald eagle; (2) to implement sound wildlife management techniques to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting habitat for shore birds, wading birds, waterfowl, raptors, and neo-tropical migratory species; and (3) to provide wildlife-oriented recreation compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established.
Site Description: Located within the Matlacha Pass estuary northwest of the city of Fort Myers in Lee County, Florida, Matlacha Pass NWR covers approximately 512 acres that include twenty-three islands, mangrove forests, and tidally-influenced wetlands with low sand and shell ridges. It is administered as a satellite refuge of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Matlacha Pass NWR is almost exclusively red mangrove habitat, but in interior wetland areas on some of the islands black mangroves dominate and are often mixed with white mangroves and buttonwood. Upland and wetland areas are maintained in their natural condition so that they may provide undisturbed habitat for birds, fish, invertebrates, and other animals. Colonial birds utilize the refuge as nesting and roosting habitats. As part of its management program, Matlacha Pass NWR uses chemical and mechanical controls against invasive species.
Regulation: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary agency that regulates Matlacha Pass NWR. The Refuge Recreation Act, 16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4, restricts public recreation use of fish and wildlife conservation areas, including National Wildlife Refuges. Section 460k lays out public uses that are allowed in the refuge, such as wildlife observation, sport fishing, commercial fishing and crabbing, nature photography, motorized and non-motorized boating, and waterfowl hunting. Pursuant to 50 C.F.R. 27.11-17.97, ATVs, camping, littering, fires, collecting, horses, and firearms/ weapons are prohibited. However, motorized vehicles are allowed on designated roads.
Primary Information Source: Matlacha Pass NWR website -

Matt Miller
Director of Parts and Accessory Sales
Warranty and Technical Support
Hobie Cat USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:50 pm 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:57 am
Posts: 34
Location: San Diego, CA
On the face of it, it doesnt seem like it preserves much does it? But in fact what it preserves is the natural state of the area and protects it from development. Hunting and fishing are still allowed in most preserves unless otherwise posted.

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