FWC Considers New Rules at Skyway Fishing Pier to Prevent Pelicans from Being Entangled

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida (TodayNews) — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will discuss Wednesday approving the final rules governing fishing at the Skyway Fishing Pier to save pelicans.

Pelican entanglement in fishing gear at Skyway Pier is more common than other piers in the area, according to the FWC, and so far, training and other activities have not prevented a large number of severe injuries and deaths.

According to the FWC, hundreds of pelicans and other seabirds become entangled in fishing gear at the Skyway Pier each year, resulting in serious injury or death. However, anglers and animal advocates disagree on how to protect the birds.

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The FWC is expected to approve final rules on Wednesday to address this issue.

The final rules will set education requirements for anglers, prohibit the use of fishing tackle with more than one hook or multiple hooks from November 15 to March 15, and limit anglers to no more than two sets of hook tackle.

Staff also recommends that the effectiveness of these rules be monitored as part of an adaptive governance structure and that these rules be reviewed two years after implementation to determine if they are appropriate or should be removed or expanded.

If approved, the rules will come into effect on October 1, 2023.

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