Fishing from the Naples Pier is still banned on Sundays, and from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. every other day, in the hope that it will protect pelicans from getting injured on fishers’ hooks, but some people are unhappy with the restriction.
Leaders with the Von Arx Wildlife Hospital in Naples say they haven’t had to admit any pelicans for the last three Sundays; at one point, they were admitting one to three pelicans every day with injuries received from Naples Pier fishers. Despite the positive impact the new program has had on pelicans, the restrictions are also impacting anglers who think the pier should be closed on another day.
The Sunday fishing ban is intended to last until May. Luciano Blanco is an angler who lives in Naples and has created a petition to push back against those restrictions.
“Pelicans can get injured in many ways,” Blanco said. “You know, obviously, lines casting into them, but there are fishermen there Monday through Saturday and I’ve seen them hooked on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.. I’ve unhooked many birds ever since this Sunday closure. I’ve taken two birds already to the hospital to get treated. Sunday closures is no solution to this problem, there’s other solutions.”
For some people, Sunday is the only day they can go out. Blanco says he cares about the pelicans just as much as the next person, but believes there must be a better solution.
“Why can’t we do this study on another day, or just not do it in general?” Blanco said. “Have more help out there for the birds… there are different solutions to go around, not to just close the pier. The pier’s been open since 1888. It’s not time to start closing it.”
Naples city leaders chose Sunday because it’s a busy fishing day. Blanco says they should consider having more people out on the pier to help and educate anglers. He plans on writing a letter to Naples officials to tell them these restrictions are not a solution to the problem and to see if they’re open to other ideas.