Net Ban Challenged

For eighteen years, Mullet fishermen contend that the net ban approved by voters is good, but the rules the state adopted on net sizes is killing more fish than it’s saving.

Judge Jackie Fulford Ruled against the net ban saying there is a conflict between what voters approved, a 500 sq ft net and what regulators adopted, a limit on mesh size.

Within hours of the decision, the state appeals which effectively keeps the current band in place.

At My Way Seafood, 50 pounds of mullet came in a first thing Wednesday.

Jason Turner, a seafood dealer, says, "To catch 50 pounds this guy fished all night long. He probably caught at least 1,000 smaller fish juvenile that he had to kill to catch that 50 pound."

After almost two decades the amendment's author is frustrated.

Ted Foresgren with the Coastal Conservation Assn says, "And so we don't quite understand why the Wakulla county fishermen, you know, can't agree with about 18 years worth of rulings."

Jonas Porter was the first person ever arrested for using an illegal net in 1995. He's been fighting ever since.

Jonas Porter, a mullet fisherman, says, "It's what people dying overseas for. They're fighting for their heritage, to keep their heritage from changing. That's what I'm fighting."

And he is relishing, for the first time, being told that he's right.

Data from the Fish and Wildlife Commission shows Black Mullet catches were about nine and a half million pounds in 2010, down from a high of 26 million pounds in 1990.