News from the GPICA

The main program speaker of the Jan. 3 meeting of the general membership of the GPICA was Casey Streeter.

Streeter, co-owner of Island Fish Market in Matlacha, and organizer of the Florida Commercial Watermen’s Conservation group shared information about the group’s activities. FCWC was created by the Island’s commercial fishers to be proactive in working together to address the issues caused by Florida red tide. Streeter has been working with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on ways that commercial fishers can help scientists bridge data gaps needed to better understand how and why red tides develop and why some red tides last so much longer and seem to be so much more virulent than in the past.

Red tides typically form 10-40 miles offshore and are usually first detected via satellites that can discern algal blooms based on water color. However, red tides can form in the water column deeper than satellites can “see” them, so water samples are needed at different water depths in order to get a better picture of what’s happening at depth, at mid-water column and at the surface. The lack of general funding for red tide research hampers scientists’ ability to collect these needed water samples.

Working with NOAA, Streeter’s group has outlined a plan that would outfit commercial fishing vessels with the scientific equipment and training needed for the fishers to collect the samples and provide it to NOAA, where it can be analyzed.

  • Since funding levels remain low, the FCWC was created as a nonprofit organization that can raise money for the necessary equipment and is seeking donations.
  • FCWC has developed three tiered proposals to purchase scientific water testing equipment — the three tiers indicate different activities depending on how much money the organization can raise. Learn more about the proposals and funding needs to support them.
  • The Greater Pine Island Civic Association will match funds up to $1,000 for money raised by FCWC after Feb. 5, 2019.
  • Donations may be made on the FCWC website: floridawatermen.org or mailed to Florida Commercial Watermen’s Conservation, 4330 Pine Island Road, Matlacha FL 33993

Also during the meeting, the following people were nominated for the GPICA Board of Directors seats. The election will be held at the Feb. 5 meeting of the general membership. Five seats are up for election:

  • Tim Heitz, current GPICA board member (elected)
  • John Saccucci, current GPICA board member (appointed)
  • Anna Stober, current GPICA board member (elected)
  • Scott Wilkinson, current GPICA board member (elected)
  • Debbie Memoli, owner of Uni-Scape Landscape & Design

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