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Everglades National Park to Permit Catch-and-Release Fishing

The National Park Service Announces the Opening of Joe Bay to the Public


The National Park Service is a federal bureau within the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments.

On Thanksgiving Day 2016, Everglades National Park reopened Joe Bay and the adjacent Snag Bay to the public for the first time in over three decades. The areas will once again allow non-motorized boating and serve as the park's first sustainable "catch-and-release" fishing areas.

Joe Bay and Snag Bay were part of the "Crocodile Sanctuary" closed to the public in 1980 for the protection of the American crocodile and other endangered species. The reopening of the sites will not affect other Everglades crocodile sanctuary areas in Southern Florida. The decision to reopen the areas in question to non-motorized boating and sustainable fishing was outlined in the park's 2015 General Management Plan (GMP).

Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos stated, "Joe Bay's decades long closure was an important piece in our efforts to help the American crocodile recover from the brink of extinction. The status of the species has improved significantly and we are pleased to open Joe Bay to sustainable public access in accordance with our recently completed General Management Plan."

Visitors to Joe Bay and Snag Bay will now be required to use a paddle or push pole to enter the area, and boats with combustion engines and/or trolling motors must remove them from the transom and/or bow before entering the area. There are four creeks that provide access to and from Trout Lake to Joe Bay and adjacent Snag Bay. Signs and markers displayed at access points focus on speed restrictions and the designation of Trout Lake as a pole/troll zone. The new mooring area allows motorboats to travel to the area carrying a canoe or kayak for non-motor driven exploration of areas.

For the upcoming year, Everglades National Park will launch a boater education and permit program as well as establish the Everglades Paddling Trail. The park will implement additional high-priority projects in accordance with its GMP management strategy.

For more detailed information including maps and electronic navigational tools, please visit the National Park Service online at

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November 14, 2018, 2:48 pm PST

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