By Ben Martin, CAM Editor In Chief
A crowd of Brevard County residents gathered on Feb. 13 to voice concern over poor water quality in the Banana and Indian Rivers. Organizers pointed to recent spikes in manatee deaths as a bellwether of impending destruction of the rivers’ eco-system.
As anglers, we know this equates to the destruction of our beloved fishing grounds. Ask any angler who has kept a logbook of their catch and species ratios over the past 15 years and you will invariably see a downward spiral that has reached an alarming level of decline. There is no question our fisheries are diminishing, but what we may be witnessing is a tipping point where restoration and reversal of this trend might reach a point of no return. The end of our inshore fishing is a very sobering thought.
One question that came to mind as I watched this group weather nasty rains on a Sunday morning in order to make their voices heard was: Why aren’t our elected officials doing more to address this dire situation? The reason our elected officials aren’t doing more to direct priorities to the allocation of resources toward the restoration of our waters is because the voice of their constituency is not loud enough.
Why isn’t it loud enough? Maybe, and this is just my opinion, it’s because the voice is too diluted. There are currently 23 organizations all trying to make their voices heard. Each organization has its own charter, its own logo, its own mantra and even its own T-shirt. All of these organizations are well-meaning, and all are trying to make cleaning up and restoring our waterways a priority.
One voice—one loud, assertive and demanding voice—is now needed to effect immediate action from our elected officials. It’s time for these 23 organizations to set aside their individual autonomy and come together as a single voice, a voting block. Ignoring the obvious danger signs associated with our precious fisheries is at this point as reckless as miners ignoring a dead canary.
Coastal Angler Magazine endorses the need for all concerned organizations to participate in a shared-interest conference to become that one voice, the loud voice of a political movement with its primary focus and agenda aimed at restoring our waterways and marine life. I invite all members and organization leadership to reach out to us as soon as possible to begin this effort to consolidate our voices.
There is no time to waste. Let’s get to work; let’s all get to work on one common goal: the restoration of our Brevard County waterways and fisheries.
For more information, email Ben Martin: email@example.com