Fishermen seldom agree on all matters, but on this much we’re lock-step: More habitat equals more fish.
That’s why a collection of recreational and commercial fishermen have come together to save what’s known as the Bent Range marker. Located just outside Government Cut, the marker is a lot more than a navigational landmark, it’s a habitat for bait fish.
At a time when our natural reefs are stressed, and in a place where recreational and commercial fishing equal jobs and livelihoods for many South Florida families, we ought to be conserving manmade habitats as well as natural ones.
Unfortunately, ripping out vibrant marine habitats also means big dollars for the companies contracted to demolish these structures. In the case of Bent Range, the contract for demolition of the marker has been issued to Shoreline Foundation.
Removing the Bent Range is bad for the marine environment, and bad for the South Florida fishing economy. We are ready to resolve this stand-off in a way that’s good for everyone — the fishermen, Shoreline, the Coast Guard and South Florida. But we need all parties to come to the table willing to work together in the best interest of marine conservation.
Rodney Barreto, chairman, Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Miami