Fisherman, boaters tangle over turf after signs removed from near pier

Posted at 10:40 PM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-18 07:11:43-04

Naples city officials say FWC ordered them to remove signs on the Naples pier warning boaters to keep their distance.

"The fishing is good, but when the boats come by it's really bad," said Brad Harvey.

He and his fellow anglers are worried about boats getting too close to the pier.

"It's only a matter of time, especially the further we get into summer time, the worst it's going to get," said Harvey.

The nearly invisible fishing line may look harmless but could do major damage to a boat if it got tangled up in the engine, or worse hurt the people on the board.
"It's dangerous because this braided line will cut you in half.  It will slice and dice you it will cut your finger off if you get caught by this line it will be gone," said Matt Scheffer.
Scheffer worries boats will get even closer to the pier since the city removed the signs warning boaters to stay 150 from the pier.
Dockmaster Roger Jacobson says the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission ordered the city to remove the signs.
"This isn't carte blanche to race your boat jet ski under the pier, that is something that will be ticketed, either under care less or reckless operation," said Jacobson.
Jacobson says boaters rarely obeyed the signs when they were up anyway.
However, Harvey thinks the motive for taking the signs down runs deeper than just a code violation.
"I made  a comment to the people the other day when they were taking the signs down, I said what's next no fishing signs? And one of the people, I'm not sure if it was the dockmaster or the police, said yes, maybe no fishing signs might be next."
City officials say they could challenge the state's decision on the signs in court, but that could take months and run up big legal bills.