OUTDOORS: Perception of red tide hurting local water-related businesses

Many guides say pockets of inshore waters and offshore fishing have not been affected

The last hurrah of long summer weekends is upon us. Many folks will choose not to plan a beach get-away due to the red tide. It’s bad enough to see the death of dolphins, turtles, manatees, birds and countless fish from the worst outbreak in many years in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. There are many waterfront and water sport business folks that are hurting as well. We have seen a break in the way of a long overdue easterly wind pattern which has helped in dissipating the ill effects along the coast.

I’ve spoken with many guides and anglers all across our region and nearly all have stated that they have been able to seek out and find pockets of inshore waters not affected and are producing good action. Offshore charter captains also report fishing is just fine in the Gulf outside of 10-15 miles.

The problem is a lack of folks willing to book their services. Much like the BP Oil debacle of 2010, the perception that our waters were fouled by the spill when they were not, led to a decline in business. I’m not saying the current red tide isn’t serious, the adverse effects on water related businesses is very real and far surpasses the actual decline in business caused by the oil spill.

I encourage folks to not give up on taking their business to the beach over the Labor Day weekend. Things have improved a great deal since last week along the beaches. As long as the easterly wind flow continues, the conditions should improve daily.

As of this writing, there has been no news coming from the FWC concerning a delay in the open snook season beginning Saturday. There has been a hue and cry from conservation minded anglers to postpone the season in the west coast counties severely affected by the red tide. Many have gone so far as calling for a harvest closure on all inshore species until the damage can be assessed.

Whatever does transpire, I would encourage all anglers to voluntarily practice catch-and-release for a while. Being someone who touts erring on the side of caution, I feel this applies right now.

Many disastrous red tides and lethal freezes have come and gone in my lifetime. There is not a single event that has not resulted in a big recovery in time. Remembering the words “nature abhors a vacuum,” there are plenty of fish in the sea to restore the losses of this disaster.

This too shall pass.

Source: http://www.heraldtribune.com/sports/20180829/outdoors-perception-of-red-tide-hurting-local-water-related-businesses

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