- Puerto Rican Yelitza Sepulveda, Park Ranger, is in charge of the Spanish-language Fisheries Awareness Class and Boating Education Class.
Florida calls itself “The Fishing Capital of the World,” as there are many opportunities for fishing excursions. “Our state is very fishing friendly, and South Florida is no exception. Just within sight of Downtown Miami lies Biscayne National Park where visitors can come to boat, fish, explore and relax at this marine paradise,” says Park Ranger Yelitza Sepulveda. With mangrove shorelines, seagrass meadows, sand flats, reefs, and shipwrecks—the park offers diverse fishing experiences. Anglers and outdoor enthusiast can catch hundreds of brawny, beautiful and delicious species while enjoying the wildlife the park has to offer. The park holds the largest coral reef in the entire country and protects four ecosystems: 1. the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay; 2. the shoreline mangrove swamp; 3. the offshore Florida reef; and 4. the coral limestone keys.
Preserving and safeguarding this watery wonderland is the park’s objective. All fishing and other harvesting activities are largely governed by state law, and the rangers work hand in hand with the state to promote regulations and ensure the sustainability of fishery resources.
Considering this, Biscayne National Park designed the Fisheries Awareness Class in order to help anglers to identify the fish they catch, to understand fishing regulations and to get the most out of their fishing experiences. Over a thousand people have benefited from the fishing class since it began in 2007. Classes are offered in English and Spanish.
Park Ranger Yelitza Sepulveda is in charge of coordinating and instructing the Spanish-speaking classes. “Classes are free for all the family to come and are held on Saturdays every two months. We want people to know about our fishing regulations and how to preserve our natural resources. Also, we advise on equipment maintenance, tackle and fishing techniques like “catch and release” or how to identify and measure the fish. Moreover, we teach anglers what fish they can catch in federal waters and which areas are regulated for fishing.”
Likewise, the park offers a boating education class, which is designed to help visitors safely experience local waterways, and learn more about park ecosystems, groundings, safety, navigation regulation and simultaneously learn how to take care of the park.
“The boating education class focuses on how to navigate within the bay. For instance, when the tide changes, there are certain routes to avoid due to shallow waters. Many visitors go through these waterways and often their boats run aground. Mainly, we teach what areas are safe to navigate and, in the meantime, how to avoid impacting the bay ecosystem and wildlife,” adds Yelitza.
For more information or to enroll in an English-language class, please contact 786-335-3649 or call 305-230-1144 ext. 041.