Fighting for Florida

This week, I had the pleasure of touring Costa Del Mar, a rapidly growing business in Daytona Beach that manufactures specialized sunglasses for people who live, work, and want to be on the water. It is yet another example of a growing business in Florida. Costa Del Mar’s success is closely linked to recreational fishing, an important Florida industry tied to 150,000 jobs in the state. My family and I have made some great memories out on the water and fishing together.
 
While it was exciting to see the progress Costa Del Mar has made, they and their customers are grappling with excessive and overly burdensome government regulations.
 
Regulations have closed access to red snapper in the South Atlantic for two years in a row, and only 17 days were allowed in the previous six years. The Gulf of Mexico fared a little bit better, but is still largely restricted as demonstrated by only a nine day season this year. This is impacting visitors to both coasts of Florida, which in turn affects the many Floridians whose livelihoods depend on these tourism dollars. Some argue the data being used to determine the health of a fish stock is greatly flawed, and I have put forward ideas on how to improve the type and sources of data used. Recreational fishermen have much to contribute. So, it’s a big problem with far reaching economic harm when a fishery is off limits based on bad science.
 
Bureaucrats in the federal government are also proposing closing off entire bodies of water, such as Miami’s Biscayne National Park. That’s why Senator Bill Nelson and I are working on a compromise bill to address the federal government issuing decrees like this. We want to make sure that at a minimum, state wildlife authorities on the ground are involved in the conversation as these decisions can have a devastating impact on our economy.
 
I want to make sure we create the type of smart regulatory environment where more people can continue to enjoy the natural recreation off Florida’s coastlines and Florida businesses can create jobs and make things in America. Costa Del Mar is a made-in-the-USA brand that we are very proud to have in Florida, and I’m excited to see their growth and what they have planned for the future. We cannot allow their progress to be impeded by unnecessary roadblocks. I will continue to push for pro-growth policies and legislation that make sure local experts have a say in the regulations that protect our resources and our environment, without hurting our small businesses and the enthusiasts who come to Florida to be on the water.