FWC to Address Blue Heron Bridge Regulations

Blue Heron Bridge is consistently touted by dive magazines and in diver polls as one of the top-ranked dive sites in the United States for its marine diversity, easy access, and macro-photography opportunities.  On any given dive, scuba divers and snorkelers may encounter polka-dot batfish, hairy blennies, spotted eagle rays, bluespotted searobins, octopuses, longsnout seahorses, garden eels, gobies, and a host of other marine animals.

Blue Heron Bridge is a special dive site and over the years, divers and environmentalists have banded together in order to protect the wonderful biodiversity found in the waters off the shores of Phil Foster Park.  A recent event involving a commercial collector highlighted concerns that even the legal removing of species from such an accessible area would irreparably damage the site, and it sparked a renewed urgency to reach an agreement with the state to protect this valuable resource.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is poised to discuss the collection of tropical fishes and other marine animals from the Blue Heron Bridge dive site at their December 2018 meeting in St. Augustine.  It’s an important opportunity for individuals who would like to make their concerns known.

Together, divers can make a difference. Most recently we saw the power of our voices when divers opposed the limited harvesting of goliath groupers. Diverse stakeholders all had a chance to address the commissioners, and ultimately, the commissioners realized that they needed more stock and management studies before they could make an informed decision.

The FWC commission meeting is scheduled on December 12 and 13, 2018, and the meeting is open to the public for comments. You can make a difference! Attend the meeting in St. Augustine and make yourself heard. At the time of this post, the agenda had not yet been posted so the exact date and time for the Blue Heron Bridge/Phil Foster Park discussion is pending. In addition, the commissioners will revisit the goliath grouper issue and determine their next steps. Please check the FWC link for further information.

As anyone who has explored the Blue Heron Bridge dive site knows, the marine creatures encountered just offshore are rarely so easily found elsewhere. It is what attracts divers, photographers, and sadly commercial collectors. Divers come from around the nation and across the globe to experience this bucket-list dive. Please help us protect it.

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