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The numbers prove that the policies of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis are failures, since they promote business at the expense of all else. And lately the “all else” part has been our water-related recreation.
DeSantis has earned the designation “BULLY GOVERNOR” and is quite likely too stubborn to change or even admit his errors.
Read the complete article here in TC Palm.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Polluted Waterways Force Tourists to Vacation Elsewhere | Our View
August 22, 2021
In Florida, tourism is more than just big business — it is THE business. According to VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism department, visitors contribute more than $96.5 billion to the economy here and support 1.6 million jobs.
That’s far more than mining ($2.7 billion), agriculture ($7.3 billion) and forestry ($25 billion) contribute to the state economy.
Considering the Sunshine State has no state income tax, it means the state depends even more heavily on tourism. Sales tax pays to operate many government services and programs.
Perhaps it wouldn’t.
Florida is dependent upon clean water. It is the state’s lifeblood — it’s very reason to exist. In fact, the banner photo on VISIT FLORIDA’s home page features a family frolicking in ankle deep azure blue water at a beach.
This past summer and spring, many have found it undesirable to take a dip or wet a line in our waters. Here’s why:
- Red tide on the Gulf of Mexico beaches of Pinellas County
- Toxic cyanobacteria coating parts of Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River
- Phosphate mining wastewater leaking into Manatee County waterways
- A massive red tide-induced fish kill throughout Tampa Bay
- A brown tide fish kill in the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County
- A record die-off of manatees in state waters
- Red tide now “moving” into Sarasota County waters
- Flow at Ichetucknee Springs in Columbia County is very low
A dead tarpon lying on a beach or the sight of a starving manatee is a sure way to ruin a Midwestern family’s visit to coastal Florida. It’s a safe bet next year’s family vacation will be booked for the Outer Banks, Martha’s Vineyard or South Texas.
According to a University of Florida study on the impact of the 2018 red tide on Southwest Florida, revenues for the charter fishing industry in the region were down more than 61%. Marine businesses connected to them — bait and tackle stores, marinas, boat dealers — were down 36%. The study surveyed businesses in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Monroe, Manatee, Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
Recreational fishing in Florida represents a $13.8 billion contribution to Florida’s tourist economy. Saltwater fishing accounts for $9.2 billion of that. No one wants to fish, kayak, paddleboard or take an ecotour where the water looks like slime or smells like raw sewage….
The manatee population cannot survive another year like 2021. Neither can the game fish or forage fish populations, or the other marine organisms and shore birds that feed on them.
The state Legislature, the governor’s office and all government agencies must work together and more efficiently to protect and clean the waters of Florida. All Floridians, and the state’s economy, depend on it.
Editorials published by TCPalm/Treasure Coast Newspapers are decided collectively by its editorial board. To respond to this editorial with a letter to the editor, email up to 300 words to [email protected]