How To: Destroy Your Local Ecosystem in 3 Easy Steps

The next few points are written in satire. It’s written in a tongue-and-cheek method with real facts and linked articles to bring awareness to current catastrophe’s happening around Florida’s most active fishing environments. 

Step 1: Don’t care about your local waters.

If you really don’t care about the environment or how fishing will be in 10 years down the road. Just be someone who doesn’t follow the rules of law or ethics. There’s plenty of examples of this going on today so there should be no shortage of good examples out on the water. Every weekend, thousands of people hit their local waters and keep undersized fish, oversized fish, and keep more than their limit. Why stop at fish? You can always poach lobsters, crabs, and other parts of the food chain too! Forget those pesky rules set fourth by wildlife commissions with the help of conservancies. They don’t know what’s best for the reproductive cycles of these animals. Right?

A dead breeding-size redfish float in the Indian River Lagoon the Monday after several guides pounded a school on Sunday morning.

A dead breeding-size redfish floats in the Indian River Lagoon the Monday after several guides pounded a school on Sunday morning.

“Just one won’t hurt anything.” That’s what about a thousand people say every weekend, every year…since the age of the modern angler. Never mind commercial outfits who take thousands of fish per day from the sea to feed a booming human population, and kill thousands more ‘by catch’ and just throw them back dead into the water. Doing your part is just so hard when you need to justify spending $25 in gas so you can keep an under-slot snook from the Everglades.

Why stop at being a disrespectful weekend warrior, when you can become a fishing guide with no morals! “This is my office!” Right? You can do whatever you want when you become a fishing guide. Running your boat over green seagrass at full speed, breaking idle zone speed ” […] to get your clients around because your livelihood depends on it!”, and surrounding/pounding huge schools of breeding redfish in the Indian River Lagoon so your clients can sloppily pull a dozen fish into the boat per day on live bait. That’s where it’s at!

Who cares about what your “office” looks like in 10 years because you’re making bank right now at $500 for a half-day. Job security is for suckers. Am I right?

Enough about redfish, how about Tarpon? Who can forget how much fun it is to surround and snag gigantic breeding tarpon in Boca Grande! Now, you can even do it for money and prizes thanks to tournaments in the pass! This is another classic example of how to abuse the predictable patterns of breeding fish, and a great way to contribute to the decline of the world’s greatest fisheries.

Writer’s Note: There are lots of great guides out there who truly care about the environment they fish in and have a passion for conserving the resources they utilize every day. Sadly, there are lot’s that don’t.

 

100 boats cobbled together to snag tarpon in a small area they show up in every year? Sounds challenging, and a great way to further your angling skills.

100 boats cobbled together to snag tarpon in a small area they show up in every year? Sounds challenging, and a great way to further your angling skills.

Step 2: Release massive amounts of polluted fresh water into a saltwater estuary.

What better way to ruin an entire ecosystem than to alter it by dumping millions of gallons of water into it- that doesn’t normally belong there! As a bonus, make sure the water is polluted and full of nitrates and fertilizes from farming runoff. That’s what’s currently happening in the Southern area of the Indian River Lagoon system on Florida’s East coast. Forget the fact that scientists say it’s a catastrophic for the local environment. Who needs expert opinion when you can actually see the discharge yourself? It’s so pretty!

Discharge from Lake Okeechobee mixes with saltwater outside of the inlet.

Discharge from Lake Okeechobee mixes with saltwater outside of the inlet.

“Big sugar” and other government-funded subsidies who’s deals for land are just as absurd as the politicians who coined them don’t care about the environment, so why do you need to? It’s all about the big dollars at the end of the day. Forget the fact that an abundance of animal and plant life is being killed off each time the locks are opened.

Sure, the Central Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and Central Everglades Project Plan (CEPP) have been launches in recent years, but that has slowed to a halt due to disinterest in the state capitol and bigger issues such as the economy come to light which divert the public’s attention.

Even famous conservationist anglers such as Flip Pallot are infinitely concerned about their home waters of the Everglades. In a recent interview with the Howler Brothers clothing brand for one of their blog posts, Flip states:

Sadly, I don’t believe that conservation efforts exist that can save the Everglades. It breaks my heart, and I hope that I’m wrong, but I believe that the water and water quality needed to save the Glades does not, will not, can not exist and if by some miracle it could, we’ve ruined the delivery system (the south Florida aquifer). It’s hard to quit on such a treasure as the Everglades and some of us won’t…but it feels like charging windmills.

Read the full interview on the Howler Bros blog here.

Step 3: Ignore runoff from septic tanks and fertilizers until it’s too late.

The Everglades and Indian River have been pounded lately with the runoff extravaganzas explained above, but why stop there! In the northern end of the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon systems, there is more ecosystem-damaging fun to take part in. An algae bloom known as ‘brown tide’ reared its head in 2012 and took over most of the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River Lagoon, Indian River Lagoon systems all at once. It spread fast and no one knew the root cause of it until it subsided and happened again in 2013. For a brief period in 2012 the water cleared up, but in 2013 the water again was filled with ‘brown tide’ that came back stronger than ever.

This time, the tide has killed hundreds of animals from pelicans to dolphins and manatees. All washing up on shore with no known cause of death.

From this NPR article about the ‘languishing lagoon’ there is over 1 million kilograms of nitrogen a year are going toward the Indian River lagoon from septic tanks alone. That’s not counting runoff from irrigation systems filled with fertilizers rich in nitrates and other chemicals. The Central Florida lagoon system used to be pristine with crystal clear water year-round. Now it’s a coffee-colored mess.

Septic tanks are an old and deprecated way of dealing with human waste from residential sites. Modern infrastructure has paved the way for city-maintained sewers, but many older towns such as the ones all along the Central Florida lagoon systems don’t have this new infrastructure. Again citing a statistic from the NPR article, there are 237,000 septic tanks all around the lagoon systems contributing to that nitrogen level which aides in the bloom of deadly algae.

 

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