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President Obama Has Closed the Ocean in So. Florida

. . .Thursday back in South Florida, a day after limits for the National Institutes of Health made headlines, it was the fear of food drying up and a prohibition on fishing in waters of Florida Bay that took center stage.

Charter guides received a message from the National Park Service this week informing them that they are not permitted to take clients fishing in Florida Bay until the feds get back to work. That means that more than 1,100 square miles of prime fishing is off limits between the southern tip of the mainland to the Keys until further notice.

The closing affects not only fishing guides, but anyone with a license to conduct business in the park, including tour operators and paddling guides — anyone with a Commercial Use Authorization permit, said Dan Kimball, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks.

Biscayne National Park is also off limits. Enforcement rangers will be on duty, Kimball said.

Capt. Mike Makowski, owner of Blackfoot Charters in Key Largo, estimates this eliminates 60 percent to 70 percent of his hunting grounds.

“This is going to put a lot of guys together in a small area close to the park,” Makowski said. “It’s going to be even worse on the weekend when we’re going to have to compete with the recreational anglers.”. . .

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