As we begin a new decade, I’m optimistic that we have turned a vitally important corner in the management of our waters and fishery. We are under an emergency closure on the harvest of Redfish Snook and Trout due to the severe red tide outbreak of the last 2 years.
We are hoping it will be able to be lifted by May of this year, but many are advocating for extending the closure. I lean heavily towards catch and release fishing though I enjoy fresh fish from time to time, and understand the desire to keep some fish for dinner.
Controlling massive freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee and nutrient pollutant runoff from fertilizers and pesticides are also a major component. Sending water south and east as well where the south has been starved for water for too long in Florida Bay has finally come to fruition despite prior managers insistence it could not be done.
The amount of bait and juvenile fish and creatures of all types in the bay is very encouraging without massive water release killing the spawn every month. While man can mitigate some of the impacts, Mother Nature is the ultimate arbiter on rainfall amounts. We have been in a very wet period for some time now as El Nino has hung around but is Neutral as of now.
So Happy New Year and Decade!