Fortunately, the FWC has an outstanding public reputation, and most people who care about nature and are outdoors enjoying our resources understand that we provide a valuable service. FWC staff manage fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.
Long ago, resource users and everyone who benefited from healthy fish and wildlife and beautiful natural areas entrusted governments with the responsibility of protecting and sustaining nature. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation describes how governments pay to ensure safe and sustainable public fishing and hunting opportunities and to conserve wildlife and their habitats. That model incorporates the “Public Trust Doctrine.”
The Public Trust Doctrine is part of common law, and each state customizes it to establish public rights in navigable waters and along shores. This is because people use these common areas for food, travel and commerce and need to share them.
For more on this story, see the June 30 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.