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Headed To "Fish-less" Floridian Waters? Look Around!

I just spent another fabulous week diving the amazing reef and wall dives at Grand Cayman. The coral formations are truly "world class" in and around all the reefs, caverns, grottos, and walls. The variety of corals and their colors are incredible.  Photographs with strobes make for wonderful photo ops and the clarity of their waters make the results pleasing to every level of underwater photographer.

So, what's the problem?  Well, coming from Florida, it doesn't take long before one realizes that there is an alarming small number of sharks, turtles and school's of fish as we enjoy in our waters. Even the number and size of Stingrays at Stingray Sandbar seems to have decreased. Is it my imagination? Was it an "off week" for some unexplained marine phenomenon?  I think not. No, it seems like many Caribbean island waters are simply "fished out" as a result of decades of over-fishing despite policies and rhetoric claiming it was all happening at "sustainable" levels.  Years ago I had heard about newly instituted fishing regulations which would permit the stocks of fish to "recover" but, so far, it has not succeeded despite the best efforts of all the marine conservationists.

  I hope I am wrong or missing something but I just don't see much to draw a different conclusion. At least, not yet.What's troubling is that it's not that difficult to be alarmed at our own signs of "over fishing" right here in South Florida.  We've seen how clearly the population of our local sharks has been steadily decreasing over the last several years and the commercial fishermen have been complaining for years about the dwindling numbers of fish in their catch.  All the while, both FL State and Federal fishing regulation authorities firmly declare that everything is being conducted in the most "sustainable" manner possible.  Really? I hope we are not heading in the same direction as many Caribbean islands. Or else, our schools of Atlantic Spade Fish, Snook, Snappers, etc. might eventually disappear. And, then what?

Anyhow, that's how I see it.

But more on that and other related subjects later . . .

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