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FCWC to demonstrate water testing equipment
August 20, 2019

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This Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., representatives of the Florida Commercial Watermen's Conservation will perform a demonstration of the water testing equipment it purchased with donations from local residents.

After the devastating effects of red tide and blue-green algae blooms of 2018 - 2019, Casey Streeter, a commercial fisherman and co-owner of Island Fish Market in Matlacha, determined that commercial fishermen needed to be proactive in finding out the causes of the devastating water issues destroying the commercial fishing industry.

"FCWC's main purpose is to contribute our own water testing to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other science communities gain a better understanding of the water quality issues and red tide events," Streeter said.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, between 2015 and 2019, local red grouper landings were down 51%, mullet was down 59% and various sizes of stone crabs were down from 65% to 87%.

"We need to understand our red tide events and this is a good time to measure our influencers and see what's happening," Streeter said. "By testing the waters before the next event FCWC can provide a key element and the missing piece of the puzzle to our scientists."

Fundraising began late last year and today the group has purchased three water testing devices at a cost of $7,800 each.

The devices can record a wide range of measurements: oxygen, pH, salinity, total dissolved solids (TDS), seawater density, total suspended solids (TSS), depth, temperature, GPS coordinates and more.

"We have commercial fishermen on the water every day," Streeter said. "As fisherman we are on the front lines and with the right equipment we can contribute real-time testing that will help scientists find comprehensive, science-driven solutions to heal our water and protect our way of life."

Streeter, a representative from the equipment manufacturer and scientists from the NOAA - Red Tide Task Force FWC are expected to be on hand for the demonstration.

"This is a community event and we will have the equipment there," Streeter said. "I would like to invite the community and our donors to see how this equipment works."

During the event, Pastor Larry Jinks will perform a blessing of the fleet and a blessing of the water.

For more information, contact the Florida Commercial Watermen's Conservation online at floridawatermen.org/. You ca also email casey@floridawatermen.or visit FCWC's Facebook page for updates.

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