Published: Jun 11, 2010 7:44 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 11, 2010 4:44 PM EDT

FLORIDA - Goveronor. Charlie Crist is giving Florida’s commercial fishermen and seafood dealers an extra three months to renew their licenses this year.  The governor announced this action to help reduce financial hardships Florida’s fishing communities are experiencing due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The commercial fishing industry needs some time to regroup because of misperceptions that Florida’s seafood has been affected by the oil spill,” Gov. Crist said.  “Our fishermen continue to harvest abundant amounts of fresh Florida seafood to supply fish markets and restaurants for people to enjoy, and we want to do whatever we can to help them continue to do that.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued an order, which states that wholesale dealer, retail dealer and saltwater products licenses, endorsements and tags currently in effect for the 2009-2010 license year are extended from July 1 until Sept. 30.  This extension will allow the industry to harvest, purchase, sell or transport saltwater products after July 1 this year with their 2009-2010 licenses until their licenses are renewed for the 2010-2011 year or until Sept. 30, whichever is sooner.

The FWC order, which can be viewed online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill, takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 and will remain in effect through Sept. 30.  The order directs wholesale and retail dealers and all law enforcement officers to recognize the extension of the license year for the effected fishers, and all other provisions governing wholesale dealer, retail dealer and saltwater products licenses, endorsements and tags in Florida remain in effect.  This order does not change any other licensing rules, including renewal-qualifying periods.

“Gov. Crist’s decision to give Florida’s commercial fishing industry some relief is a good one,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.  “We intend to do everything we can to help these folks weather the damage being done because of the oil spill.”