Make the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge catch and release for reds and trout.
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The Indian River Lagoon system is experiencing an ecological crisis, fueled by pollution from human wastewater, fertilizer and herbicide use, and toxic chemicals from NASA and Patrick Airforce Base, as well as many other smaller influences. This has resulted in recurring brown tide blooms that cause massive fish kills and shellfish die offs, as well as the loss of 80-90% of the systems sea grass, which is the critical base of the entire ecosystem.
Without this habitat, fish populations have dropped by as much as 80%. Mosquito Lagoon, located within the MINWR, is the least developed and imperiled area of the system. It is possibly the systems last hope for regeneration once pollution issues can be stopped. The fish within this refuge are critically important due to their unique genetics, and deserve special protection. We ask that the MINWR places a minimum of a 5 year moratorium on the harvest of redfish and sea trout, to be reviewed every 5 years as progress is made on restoration of the system. This is common sense management that will help protect the last remaining fish stocks of the once world famous lagoon system.
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