Florida Keys Angler Groups Invite Governor Crist to Come Fishing in Florida Bay

Groups hoping to show the governor a good day of fishing and the bad algae bloom threatening Florida Bay.

Contact:

Tad Burke, Commodore, Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association, (305) 451-7354.

Dr. Jerry Lorenz, Ph. D., State Research Director, Audubon of Florida, (305) 360-0991

(contact T.Grand for copy of the letter to the governor, [email protected])

January 10, 2008 Tavernier FL -A coalition of leading angling and conservation organizations today formally invited Florida Governor Charlie Crist to come down to the Keysfor a day of fishing and to witness firsthand a destructive algae bloom threatening the region's recreational and commercial fishing industry.

This is the third consecutive year that a persistent blue-green algae bloom has compromised the health of Florida Bay with potentially disastrous consequences for the region's fishing industry, including die-offs of fish, and the seagrass and invertebrates upon which they depend. Conservative estimates in October, 2007 placed the extent of the bloom at 300 square miles. Over the summer there were reports of the bloom at the reef line off Islamorada and Long Key, and as far south as Vaca Cut in Marathon.

"The bloom may have lessoned in size since this summer, and may be less visible from land, but it still has the potential to impact our multi-billion dollar fishing and diving industry here in the Keys," said Captain Tad Burke, Commodore of the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association. "Once the Governor sees it for himself, we think he'll understand why all of us who earn our living from the Bay are so concerned about its health."

"Algae blooms, although at times naturally occurring, have popped up repeatedly in Florida Bay in the past few years and persisted for long periods of time, which is not natural."said Audubon of Florida's State Research Director and Fisheries Biologist Dr. Jerry Lorenz.

"Make no mistake; it's a genuine and sincere invitation to the Governor to come down to the Keys for a day of fishing. We'll show him a good time, put him on some fish. But while we're out there, we'll also show him the bloom." said Captain Burke.

Members of the Coalition include:

Audubon of Florida * Bonefish and Tarpon Unlimited* Everglades Foundation * Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman's Association * Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association * Key Largo Fishing Guides Association * Key West Fishing Club * Marathon Guides Association * National Parks Conservation Association * The Snook Foundation * World Wildlife Fund*