Authors

Elizabeth Jones

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Abstract

The status and health of Biscayne Bay has become of recent environmental concern due to three significant unprecedented algal bloom events that have occurred over the past decade (6). Although Biscayne Bay remains relatively healthy, it experiences periodic disruptions that have reduced the Bay’s ability to recover, resulting in prolonged algal bloom events. Algal blooms affect water quality within the Bay. These can have negative impacts on the local economy and Bay dependent businesses, property values, recreation and tourism, human health, and many ecologically and economically important ecosystems and associated organisms (10). If the scale and duration of such events continue to become more extreme, the long-term health and sustainability of the Bay is at risk. Through partnership with the Florida Sea Grant Extension Program, participants from three fishing sectors in South Florida were surveyed to identify perceived changes in the health of Biscayne Bay. Survey responses were analyzed to identify perceived changes and threats to the Bay’s water quality, fisheries, and persistence of algae and algal blooms throughout their lifetime as fishers. Results were analyzed within and among each fishing sector; recreational, commercial, and charter to assess trends and relationships among user groups. This study is the first of its kind to qualitatively assess perceived threats and changes of Biscayne Bay from the perspective of the fishing sectors. Identifying user perceptions and perceived threats to these sectors allows scientists, policy makers, and governments to understand these concerns and work to address them. These findings will provide a platform for further discussion among industries and allow policy makers and researchers to address issues of algal blooms and the negative impacts they may have on the future success of Biscayne Bay’s fisheries, as well as other water-dependent sectors of the economy.

Comments

Department: MES

MPS Track: CSU

Location: UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Office: Miami Dade County, FL

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