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Date of Issue: July 08, 2009

Fishing covered on Bridge Street pier

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The Historic Bridge Street Pier on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

New fishing license rules will be applied statewide on Aug. 1, but they should not impact anglers on the Historic Bridge Street Pier — except that their numbers on the pier might increase when the new rules go into effect.

Non-residents already must purchase licenses to fish from the shore. The new regulations generally require resident saltwater anglers who fish from shore or a structure affixed to shore to buy a $7.50 shoreline fishing license by Aug. 1, unless they have a regular resident saltwater fishing license.

“Unless,” said Henry Cabbage of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “the pier has a pier license.”

And that’s the case at the Historic Bridge Street Pier, where an umbrella license will keep the fishing free for residents and non-residents, city project/program manager Lisa Marie Phillips told members of the city pier team meeting July 2 at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

FWC asked the Legislature to pass the new license requirement to head off a federal license requirement that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2010, and will have a $15-$25 fee beginning in 2011. Florida’s new shoreline license exempts this state’s anglers from the federal license requirement.

For those who fish in locales other than the pier, Cabbage noted that a regular saltwater license costs just $10 more than the $7.50 shoreline license, so fishers should “consider purchasing the regular license so they won’t have to buy the regular license if a buddy invites them to go fishing in his boat. The regular license covers shoreline fishing.”

In other business at the pier team meeting, the group endorsed a design for a message board that will be placed near the dinghy dock at the pier complex.

Emily Anne Smith of Designs of Significance designed the structure, which will stand about 6 feet tall and be made of pressure-treated pine and cedar with a roof-like top to shield messages from rain.

Phillips said she asked Smith to design a structure that could be built for less than $500.

“I think it is so good-looking we might consider more than one for the city,” Phillips said.

The next stage will be for an engineer to look at the project, according to building official Steve Gilbert.

The pier team’s next meeting will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, at city hall.