One step forward, two steps back. The catastrophe that is the Indian River Lagoon finally made a national news web site. Take Back Our Water and many others have tried to put this on the national stage for quite some time, and have had no success. So we were happy when our weekly search engine turned up a story by CNN.com. Finally,national coverage.
Imagine our disgust once we read the story. In 384 words, CNN.com essentially said that the fish kills, brown tide, water discharges are just the norm, don’t worry about it. But what else can you expect from CNN.com?
The real shocker was the quote from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It read “”Fish kills happen all the time,” said Kelly Richmond of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “This is a massive kill, but there are fish kills all over the state.”” (The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute is a branch of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.) So according to the agency that manages Florida’s fisheries, fish kills are normal, they happen all the time, so it’s OK, get over it.
(News flash – fish kills aren’t normal, they’re not supposed to happen. With a few exceptions (see red tide, below), they happen in areas with bad resource management.)
In what universe are fish kills common and OK? Does this mean that the FWC thinks that the bad water quality and degraded habitats of Florida’s coasts are fine, and that we should just get used to it? What part of ‘Fishing Capital of the World’ does this approach to fisheries management support?
This is tough to swallow. In general, the FWC has been pretty highly ranked when it comes to fisheries management. So when we see statements like this, it bothers us greatly. Does this mean that FWC has capitulated, and now considers the state’s saltwater fisheries to be so screwed that they accept fish kills as normal? Does FWC realize that it wasn’t that long ago that fish kills were rare? Prior to the severe mismanagement of Florida’s water resources, about the only fish kill that occurred were due to red tide along Florida’s Gulf coast, and occasional freezes. (Note – although the severity, frequency, and spatial extent of red tide may be enhanced by human-introduced nutrients, the phenomenon of red tide has been around for a long time – the Spanish explorers wrote about it hundreds of years ago.)
So now, in addition to the politicians and resource managers who are destroying the future of Florida’s fisheries, the FWC appears to be complicit as well. Sad, so sad.
Let FWC (https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=florida%20fish%20and%20wildlife%20conservation%20commission) know that their flippant remarks on fish kills aren’t OK.
Here is the link to the CNN article,