Originally published in Florida Weekly by Roger Williams on June 26, 2024

“The sheer amount of vessels on the water today directly impacts the habits and behaviors of our fishery, whether they are fishing or not,” says Capt. Codty Pierce, a career fishing guide and the Calusa Waterkeeper, heading one of 15 nonprofit Waterkeeper organizations in the state aimed at protecting its salt and freshwater resources.

“Combustion engines zooming around the estuary is good for the shortterm economy in the form of boat sales, fuel, ice, fishing tackle, boat ramp payments and so on and so forth,” he explains. “But man’s presence in these sensitive areas is absolutely affecting the migratory habits and even the numbers of gamefish we interact with on a daily basis.

“Imagine someone flying a helicopter across the roof of your house multiple times a day. You will never get any work done nor feel comfortable with a disruption of that magnitude on your surroundings.”

It may be something like that for the fish, too. But all is not lost, in the estimation of Capt. Pierce or others, especially if more people begin to pay attention.

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