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Official ceremony marks ban to protect exotic fish

Posted at 8:19 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 20:19:09-04

It’s being called a victory for marine life!

Scuba diving enthusiasts and environmental activists celebrated the months of hard work it took to protect exotic fish underneath the Blue Heron Bridge with the unveiling of signs highlighting the recent changes by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that prohibit the collection and possession of marine life fishery species (species collected and managed for the tropical aquarium trade) within Phil Foster Park and surrounding waters.

The measure was approved by the FWC on April 1.

To mark the ceremonial unveiling, members of the county’s marine community joined county leaders under the Blue Heron Bridge.

Some county leaders estimate poaching has been a problem in the area for approximately 30 years and something needed to be done. Signage will help ensure the value stays in the water.

”There are financial penalties and prison time if you’re caught,” said Eric Call, director of parks and recreation for Palm Beach County.

Call estimates some of the exotic fish found under the Blue Heron Bridge and surrounding Phil Foster Park are worth thousands of dollars and required protection.

”They’re in the thousands, because Palm Beach Inlet is closer than anyplace else along the gulf stream so those warm waters from the gulf stream come in and bring these unique specifies that you don’t find anywhere else and so that’s why they’re here they recognize that and that’s why they’re here,” he added.

So far, five signs have been installed. The changes will maintain high-quality snorkeling and diving opportunities and contribute to the conservation of species under the Blue Heron Bridge and throughout Phil Foster Park.