Debate continues over Biscayne National Park restrictions

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For 15 years, officials, environmentalists, anglers and boaters have struggled over how to protect Biscayne National Park, an underwater jewel in South Florida.

The park houses part of the largest coral reef in the United States, now deteriorating and with a fish population that is dangerously depleted, according to a New York Times report.

“The dispute, on one level, seems simple: Should federal officials ban fishing in 10,522 acres, or 6 percent, of Biscayne National Park, to help replenish the snapper and grouper?” wrote Lisette Alvarez of the Times.

“Or should they do as the state and the powerful marine industry want and try incremental fixes first, toughening existing rules?” she asks in a story appearing Dec. 21. “Saltwater recreational fishing pumps $7.6 billion a year into Florida’s economy, the largest total in the country.”