Water quality has become one of the most pressing issues facing Florida agricultural firms. As the population grows, and technology advances, we are creating more pollution than ever before. This pollution is detrimental to our water sources statewide, with harmful effects on local ecosystems.
As a local fisherman for various seafood restaurants in Crystal River, decreasing water quality has had a substantial impact on my business. The river is highly polluted, causing damage to the grass beds and fish populations. I fish for whatever is in season, ranging from scallops to trout and tarpon.
For the past several years I had noticed that each haul was getting smaller and smaller, no matter what efforts I put in. After talking with another fisherman I know around the area, we reached the consensus that the populations are just not what they used to be. Poor water quality is the major contributing factor to the declining fish population. These fish cannot survive in pollution-infested waters, and something must be done before the consequences are irreversible.
As a result of poor water quality and pollution, my business is in a position to be threatened. If I can no longer catch the amount of fish I need to support my family, I will have to find another job. Fishing has always been my passion, if I could no longer fish for a living I would be devastated.
While water pollution does threaten my ability to maintain my business as a fisherman, it also presents some opportunities for me as well.
As the water quality is changing, the fish that inhabit the river are also changing. I could cash in on these different types of fish and sell these to restaurants instead. I could also travel to an area of the river that is not as polluted and catch fish there and then bring it back to the area I normally sell to. This is a great opportunity because the local restaurants need a supply of fresh seafood, so by filling this demand I could profit more than usual.
Steps need to be taken to improve water quality in the state of Florida, or the situation will only get worse. Companies that line the river need to be regulated and their runoff evaluated.
Businesses with water runoff will be tested to make sure their runoff is clean and not detrimental to the river. If the runoff is not clean, the business will be responsible for filtering it themselves before it enters the river. This will ensure that the river is not enduring additional pollution.
Another way to mitigate the impacts of pollution is to have river cleanups, where volunteers can help clean the river and shoreline. Getting the algae growing out of the river will help to improve the water quality immensely. Also, removing trash and debris from the river and banks will ensure the safety of the marine life in the river.
Water quality is one of the most important issues today in Florida because water is so crucial to our environment and living beings. If we don’t take steps toward improving the quality of our waters now, it will be too late to attempt to reverse the damage we have done.