At a recent meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, new laws began being drafted that are set to put one of the most sought-after gamefish species in the country on menus across the state – the Largemouth Bass.
The proposal would essentially make the sale of Largemouth Bass for the purposes of food legal in the state of Florida and would also allow for a bass-based aquaculture industry to establish itself in the state. This proposal began back in October of this year when it was initially floated to stakeholders and is now being proposed in its final form. The law, in its current language, can be found below:
- Allow for the culture and sale of Florida largemouth bass as a food fish.
- Incorporate FWC’s Genetic Authentication Standards for Florida largemouth bass into rule by reference.
- Prohibit the importation into or transportation within the state of any live bass species, except Florida largemouth bass that meet FWC’s largemouth bass Genetic Authentication Standards.
- Require any shipment of live bass in Florida to be accompanied with documentation required by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Aquaculture and FWC.
In response to concerns from anglers, the FWC has stated that “staff will remain vigilant and maintain dialogue with FDCAS to ensure that this emerging industry for Largemouth Bass does not negatively impact Florida’s Largemouth fishery,” (Erik Sutton, FWC).
For those unfamiliar with aquaculture’s impact on fisheries, check out the article below to see how escaped aquaculture salmon in Nova Scotia have infiltrated wild stocks.
In terms of raising and eating Largemouth, we here at Fish’n Canada have some opinions.
“As a kid I remember eating largemouth once,” says Pete Bowman “and I obviously wasn’t impressed with the outcome since I haven’t tried it again. And that was a northern strain bass from cool, Canadian waters. To convince me of chomping down on a feed of Florida strain bass that are pen-raised in 70-80+ degree water… I guess time will tell as to the quality of that meal. Until then, I’ll stick to sushi!”
“And as far as escapees and accidental movement of fish” Angelo Viola continues, “It’s a tough one to contain at a 100% level. Contained Carp accidentally filtered throughout North America due to flooding. What about the Rainbow Trout in Parry Sound? Our west coast Salmon population is now a total mixture of wild vs. cultured fish. These are but a few of many examples.
“And finally to the point of the local anglers justified concerns over the potential of aquaculture Largemouth entering prestigious waterways” our guys continue, “the plan and execution better be perfect because you DO NOT want to mess with the Florida bass-boys and their playgrounds… just sayin’!”