Monday, July 20, 2009 at 1:51 p.m.
Today is the first day in Florida that it is illegal to hunt freshwater turtles for commercial purposes. Truly the end of the era.
The turtle-hunting industry has apparently been relatively booming lately thanks to demands by the South American and Asian markets, and also owing to many of our neighboring states barring the practice. But lawmakers and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were concerned this might lead to an eventual decline in the turtle population, so the practice has been banned.
The state had about only 100 licensed turtle hunters, but according to the Naples Daily News
, more than 2,000 full-time or part-time turtle hunters might be affected. Being out of a job, though, in this economic climate, isn't exactly being taken lightly by the state's shell shockers.
"I don't know what I'll do now," one hunter tells the Daily News
. "I have people depending on me, and now I'm out trying to find another job and still be able to run my reptile farm. I just don't know what I'm going to do."
However, regular Floridians will still be able to take one freshwater turtle per day for non-commercial purposes. Turtle farming for commercial purposes is still allowed, and licensed farms will still be able to take a set number of turtles for breeding purposes.