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Fishing and diving struggling to co-exist at Blue Heron Bridge

'We can have a co-existence between the diving community and the fishing community,' Riviera Beach councilwoman says
Blue Heron Bridge.PNG
Posted at 9:56 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 23:43:02-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Since John McCormack moved to Riviera Beach, he's fished off the Blue Heron Bridge.

"It's a bit of a nice vibe, nice atmosphere, lots of people come here. It's pretty relaxed," he said.

He recently heard there is an effort to ban fishing on the bridge for the protection of divers.

Fishing at Blue Heron Bridge.PNG

"I see no reason why they can't happen at the same time," he said. "Maybe they want to set some rules up or something."

Recently, the Florida Department of Transportation put up signs along the bridge, banning fishing. But Councilwoman Julia Botel said transportation officials didn't inform the city of Riviera Beach.


"I understand that the diving community wanted to have some safety. That's fine," she said. "We can have a co-existence between the diving community and the fishing community, but don't put a sign that says no fishing without consulting the city."

Botel said she quickly contacted the FDOT, which agreed to take down the signs.

Divers come to this area because it is considered one of the best in the country because of the marine life.


Chuck Dodd is a diver. He said the diving community was overjoyed by the news. He said he was nearly hooked recently by someone fishing on the bridge.

"As soon as it dropped, he set the hook and I don't know why, because I saw the hook sitting on the ground, he set the hook and jerking back up and that was a foot away from me," he said.

The FDOT said the signs were installed in error by its contractor and are being removed.

"While I don't like that the signs are gone, I understand why," Dodd said.

Botel said her next step is to meet with transportation officials about a solution to the problem.