Keynoter: Curbelo: Bay guides face ‘heavy burden’ under fee plan
Citing concern about “stifling fees and excessive regulation” on Florida Bay fishing guides, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Miami and the Keys) urged Everglades National Park managers to seek “a solution that works for our community.”
Florida Keys guides who frequently take charter-fishing clients into Florida Bay waters within Everglades National Park have objected to a pending rule change that would require charter anglers to buy a separate pass into the park.
“The initial proposal would place a heavy burden on these small charter businesses that are not only critical to our local economy, but also play an essential role in sharing and preserving the beauty and ecological importance of the Everglades with visitors from around the world,” said Joanna Rodriguez, a spokesperson for Curbelo, who represents the Keys.
At an Aug. 8 Key Largo meeting with Everglades staff, guides also voiced concern over a Commercial Use Authorization fee, needed by anyone who profits by using a national park. Currently, the annual commercial fee for using the park’s 1,100 square miles of Florida Bay is $250 a year. That fee would increase to $1,000 annually and possibly higher, depending on revenues.
“Congressman Curbelo looks forward to continuing to engage both local stakeholders and constituents dependent on fishing charters as well as the National Park Service until we get to a solution that works for our community.”
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