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Florida Commercial Watermen's Conservation group forms

December 27, 2018
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Last Tuesday night, more than 100 people turned out at Pine Island United Methodist Church for a town hall meeting introducing the Florida Commercial Watermen's Conservation

After the red tide and blue-green algae blooms of 2018, the group was formed by Casey Streeter, co-owner of Island Fish Market in Matlacha, to scientifically monitor offshore waters.

"The purpose of tonight's meeting is to introduce the Florida Commercial Waterman's Conservation group to the public," Streeter said. "This is a commercial fishermen driven water testing program."

Article Photos

Casey Streeter

ED FRANKS

FCWC's main purpose is to contribute its own water testing to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other science communities gain a better understanding of the water quality issues and red tide events.

"We have commercial fishermen on the water every day," Streeter said. "NOAA was out here speaking with family members who have been here for generations and the conclusion we've all come to is what we had this year was something completely different."

The initial goal of the group is to raise funds for the equipment to test the water.

"We will be performing offshore water testing and we are looking to purchase YSI water profilers," Streeter said. "This equipment is a multi-reading sensor that can read the salinity, temperature, oxygen and several other things about our water. This is very important data to collect and provide to NOAA and other scientists studying our water."

According to Streeter, the goal is to create a baseline of testing results of offshore waters. The Caloosahatchee has multiple testing locations but there's only periodic testing that takes place offshore after a red tide event.

"The goal of the program is to bridge the gap in data collection between the scientists that are researching our red tides, causes, secondary effects, impacts on our ecosystems," Streeter said.

Commercial fishermen are on the water every day. If they see questionable water they can test it then and there to be sent in for analysis.

"FCWC also focuses on the economic impacts to our coastal communities and we hope to create a template for all coastal communities to own their own science and be a part of the solution," Streeter said.

Streeter said the FCWC needs the following:

- "We need the community to help connect us into ways to fund our program."

- "We need the community to reach out to our elected officials to support our group."

- "If anyone has any ideas to help raise money or important contacts reach out to us at casey@floridawatermen.org"

Visit FCWC's Facebook page for updates.

 
 

 

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